Malignus Youth – Missa Brevis


Seriously, that’s as big as it gets.

Malignus Youth were a short (and sporadically) lived Punk band from Arizona.   Initially they had a pretty typical Punk flair to their music; speed, simplicity and aggression, but they already began to drift into more… unusual realms of music.

By the time they had released More to It (after two 7″  EPs) their sound had changed drastically, leaving behind the raw, shouted vocals of traditional hardcore and focused strongly on clean singing, utilizing (to this day, some of the best I’ve ever heard and certainly more than any modern indie band flaunting their vocal harmonies) vocal melodies and harmonies as a forefront to the music.  Everything took a fantastically melodic turn, while still maintaining a Punk attitude.  The music rarely took a dive in terms of speed or intensity, but instead of chugging bass lines, Tom Sheldon created some of the most memorable and catchy basslines I’ve heard in a long time; the vocal harmonies took more from 18th Century choral stylings than punk rock, and the entire band took creativity to extreme lengths.

Missa Brevis was their final relesase (discounting their compilation CD), after a six year break between More to It.  Without a doubt, the most creative endeavour of the band, the incredibly short LP is some of the most unique, experimental and entirely listenable Punk album I’ve ever heard.

Missa Brevis means “Brief Mass” in Latin, and indeed much of  album is sung in Latin, featuring vocal harmonies and counterpoint that makes them fascinating.  Yes, it’s really short, too.  Taking just as much, if not more, from Classical themes, compositions and vocal stylings as Punk, Malignus Youth recorded one of the most criminally unheard of, obscure albums of recent memory.  Wonderful Basslines, classically influenced guitar melodies, ‘call and response’ harmonies used in 18th century Baroque music.  I’m mangling any semblance of a convincing description, but trust me.

I have a hard time calling Malignus Youth ‘just’ a Punk band, but at the same time I really wouldn’t call them anything else.  They embody both what made punk from an aesthetic perspective as well as an intellectual one: the ability to create new sounds, push boundaries  and expand music to unusual areas.  They embodied the entire Punk ideology perfectly.

Short review; short on time.

Do NOT miss this one.


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