The Empty Frame

1. Face of the Unknown
2. Shadowborn
3. Moving Into Fear
4. New Blood
5. Sink Forever Down
6. Strip Show of an Angel
7. The Iron March
8. Bloody Mary
9. Into the Sun
10. The Lyapunov Exponent
11. Pariah
12. Take It to the Grave
13. Yoke of Stone

Lars Reese (Bass)
Mikkel Johnson (Drums)
Jacob Lobner (Vocals)
Patrick Nybrog (Guitar, Keyboard)
Mads Olsen (Guitar)

Longest Road to Rome (EP 2007)
Beyond (EP 2008)
Beauty in chaos (2010)



Released 5/3-2012
Reviewed 22/2-2012

target records
mighty music

Danish Malrun are releasing their second full-length album and somewhat shameful I have to admit that it's my first encounter with the band but since I started to review' The Empty Frame' I've also checked out 'Beauty In Chaos' from 2010 and to me it's quite apparent that what we have here is a new cross-breed because I've heard plenty of bands playing this kind of music. But I've never heard a band that sounds like this when they do so.

If I were a lazy, comfortable reviewer like the most music journalists I would have described Malrun as Blind Guardian joining forces with In Flames and settled with that. The only problem with that is that there must be at least a hundred different interpretations of that so it's a pretty stupid thing to say. Nor does it get smarter if you try to specify what you mean by saying things like the aggressiveness of In Flames with the sound of Blind Guardian since both of these bands has released albums for 20 years and not really sounded exactly the same all the time throughout this time. And if you try to save yourself by saying things like "take the best out of this band and mix it with that" you have the same problem, because exactly what is the best with a band? There must be a hundred different interpretations of that as well. In other words, trying to describe Malrun by name-dropping other bands is as useless as it's lazy.

But… I'll continue doing so anyway, because Malrun has a vocalist that actually sound quite a lot like Hansi Kürch in Blind Guardian and that means he has a knife-cutting, shouty voice that sings kind of whiny and making the vocal site pretty plangent. He's quite high pitched in his voice but there's also a grunty, growling shouty voice that adds a heavier feel to the material. I think the music is quite typical for heavier power metal of German heritage but somewhat even heavier and not as straight in the melodies. The music goes fast and the guitars comes with a highly distorted sound to drums that are very heavy, almost hammering. The way I see it, the material is pretty varied and with the alternating vocals and the heaviness of the material this is what brings In Flames to my mind while the high tempo in the music and the clean vocals brings my thoughts to Blind Guardian. When you put these toghether you get something that feels quite familiar but still new and interesting.

'The Empty Frame' is 52 minutes long and include 13 songs, among witch one is an instrumental intro. These two numbers are two of the most negative facts with this album. It gets a bit long and also repetitive when you play the whole album from beginning to end. Sure, there is quite a big variation within the material but with so many songs you still end up repeating yourself by the end and the playing time should have ended a bit earlier. I tend to peak more and more towards the counter when this album will end during the last couple of songs. However, apart from this I can't say there is anything obviously wrong with this album. Mixing, production and sound are not superb but all good and I really feel comfortable listening to the album since because of how it sounds. And it works all the way to the end, though I feel the best hearing the first half.

Where this album takes plus points are within its melodies and well-played music. The material is varied well and ingenious in its own way. The reviews and descriptions on this album I've found all say things like alternative and progressive metal. SOme even call it modern metal, whatever that means. Regardless, I think this album is very good and I'm sure it will gain Malrun quite a lot of new fans.

The best songs on this album according to me are Shadowborn, Moving Into Fear, Sink Forever Down and Strip Show Of An Angel (all found on the first half of the album), but there are nothing really bad on this album so I recommend you to buy the complete album and not just these songs. Had it not been for the excess one or two tracks at the end this album would have been even more astonishing!




Label: Target/Mighty Music/Border
Three similar bands: Blind Guardian/Rage/In Flames
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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