Archive for Maligno

The Tex-Mex Doom Triumvirate (Maligno, Mala Suerte, and Las Cruces join forces)

Posted in flyers, Mala Suerte with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2012 by backstabbath

Monterrey’s premier doom rockers, Maligno, are gearing up for their first US jaunt with shows in McAllen (Nov. 15th), San Antonio (Nov. 16th), Austin (Nov. 17th), and Houston (Nov. 18th), and joining them for three of the four dates are Austin’s masters of misery, Mala Suerte, and San Antonio’s doom icons, Las Cruces. While Mexico has never been known as a hotbed for doom metal, Maligno, which formed in 2004,  has been at the forefront of the Mexican metal and hard rock scenes, racking up stadium shows and festival appearances alongside such luminaries as Slayer, Iron Maiden, Cathedral, Metallica, Testament, and Guns N’ Roses. Their sound was forged from the purest elements of metal’s origins, especially evident in their razor-sharp Sabbath-inspired riffing and traditional melodic sound. Even though much of Maligno’s music could be easily considered doom, there is enough deviation stylistically and tempo-wise, with many flat-out rocking moments and plenty of shades of light and dark sprinkled throughout, and the precision of their delivery and the melody of their vocals adds a touch of class and refinement which I think will go a long way in opening up further inroads within the heavy music community.

It amazes me when I talk to people in this town that claim to like doom when I mention the name Las Cruces and I simply get a shrug and a look of complete of bewilderment, especially considering the fact that they are this state’s second longest running doom band, with the sole exception being the legendary Solitude Aeturnus. But I guess with all things retro being in vogue now it should come as no surprise to me that only the hippest (i.e., the lamest) bands are the ones that are being thrust into the limelight. Whatever the case may be, those of you that have truly followed the evolution of our beloved slow and low, morose and mighty metal scene will need no introduction to the undeniable merits of their deliciously leaden groove. Las Cruces has thus far released three full studio albums, two of which–1998s Ringmaster and 2010s Dusk–are as good as any release by any other doom band here or overseas. The band has seen many trying and turbulent times, with many line-up changes and setbacks, but it is a tribute to their tenacity that they keep bringing the doom despite the adversity. Perhaps this is what makes their sound seem so immediate and authentic? I for one am glad they are keeping the torch aflame through the darkness!

Once again, I feel rather ridiculous about waxing poetic about the band for which I’ve shredded my vocal cords and decimated my hearing for for the better part of the last 15 years, and, besides by now, you’d think we’d be old enough to know better. Unfortunately for you that is definitely not the case. Hard-headed bastards die hard. Trends be damned.

As I type this, post-2 AM Friday morning, Maligno will have just wrapped up their first US gig in McAllen, TX and will be heading to San Antonio presumably after all proclivities have been entertained and vices celebrated, and will be joining up with Las CrucesMala Suerte and Bay Of Pigs for a show at The Nightrocker.  The Tex-Mex Doom Trio will then be heading to Austin right into the thick of Formula 1 madness for a gig at The 29th ST. Ballroom. Austin’s excellent doom/psych trio, The Well will be offering support. Finally, we’ll finish off the weekend at Rudyard’s in Houston along with Project Armageddon.

I’m looking forward to seeing the guys in Maligno again, as it has been quite some time since we’ve ventured down to Mexico to play with them, and I hope to get better acquainted with the fine folks of The Well, Project Armageddon, and Bay Of Pigs. Hopefully we’ll also see some of you at the shows. Doom till the tomb!

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Deranged Doodlings: Universevil

Posted in Deranged Doodlings with tags , , , , , on February 25, 2012 by backstabbath

When Maligno bassist, Marco Gil, asked me to do the cover artwork for their second LP, Universevil, I was certainly thrilled, as I’ve never taken the opportunity, with the exception of the Caustic Death demo tape, to provide my own visual interpretation of another bands sonic creation. The band wanted me to create an image that reflected their Mexican heritage and they wanted something akin to 70s-era prog rock album art which would visually encapsulate their lyrical ideas and capture the overall sound and vibe of the music contained within. Marco sent me a package with some demo recordings of some of the tracks that were to be on the recording along with the lyrics to all the songs. For inspiration he also enclosed a small book of  illustrations and engravings by popular Mexican artist, Jose Guadalupe Posada, and I quickly got to work.

After listening to the CD of recordings and reading the song lyrics I began to formulate ideas for the cover image. I began by drawing a small thumbnail sketch which I usually do for most of the bigger or more elaborate pieces that I create. One of the songs on the album is called Son Of Tlalocanso I decided to make Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, fertility, and water, the central image and focal point of the cover. Though, after a bit of thought, since Maligno is a metal band and since I am a morbid bastard, I decided it would be cool to incorporate Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of the dead and king of Mictlan, the lowest and northernmost section of the underworld, into it is well. As you can see in the final finished drawing I went ahead and split the main figure into two opposing halves, one representing fertility and the other representing death in an attempt to employ the old mystical symbolism of duality and the harmony of opposites. If you look at the upturned hand of Tlaloc on the right you can see the attached umbilical cord which leads to the floating fetus of the son of Tlalocan. On the right half, Mictlantecuhtli is crushing the head of a man in professional attire which is a reference to the song Dirty Black Suit  and it’s lyrical denunciations of  corporate greed, deceitful masters, and “bullshit bastards”. The ancient god of death has returned to reap his just rewards on the the evil conqueror that vanquished his people oh so long ago.

Now, I’m not too sure if this is what the band had in mind with the song Golden Demons  but I took the title as a metaphor for that wonderfully decadent elixir of life which I like to imbibe more often than most health professionals would probably recommend, and added the little gleeful mephistophelean reveler with upturned goblet down in the lower left-hand side of the drawing. Believe me, I’ve hung out with the Maligno boys enough times to know that they are not averse to the practice of consuming copious amounts of the sacred brew, so I feel that this choice of imagery was certainly apropos. Just opposite the golden demon you’ll notice the flaming witch of the album’s opening track The Red Witch. I was pleasantly surprised after initially viewing the video for this track to see that some ideas taken from my artwork were actually included within! For the cover’s background, two flaming suns for the song Two Sons can be seen behind the central figure, illuminating the whole joyous scene. And finally, to tie this album together with it’s predecessor, I borrowed the skull from that LP’s front cover which you can see there at the very bottom. Unfortunately, due to deadline restraints, I didn’t get to add as much detail and shading as I would have liked, but the band was more than pleased with the end result. Ultimately though, the experience of trying to visually capture the aural mood of a band which I thoroughly respect and enjoy proved to very rewarding and enjoyable and I look forward to more opportunities to do so again.