The first thing you notice about Maudiir‘s new EP, La Part du Diable, is just how good the record sounds. Crystal clear production on a blackened thrash release might not be at the top of every listener’s shopping list, but here the production absolutely works for F., the single musician behind the music.

His bass runs on second track The Slumber can actually be heard, which is a delight as he’s just as good on the four strings as the six, but as much as anything it is the clear, unfettered combination of sounds that gives the recording power as virtuoso performances.

The Slumber is actually a superb piece of heavy metal, blackened or otherwise, and that perhaps is the second thing to note; despite the occasional tumble into blastbeat and tremolo picked mania, this is a release firmly rooted in the precision and power of traditional heavy metal. The jagged riffage of The Fortunate Few owes as much to Sanctuary as it does to Dissection or Emperor, so it’s easy to see Maudiir as a band with significant crossover appeal going forward.

F’s injects little hooks everywhere, meaning that even the most unforgiving riffs are worth listening to to see what melodic pleasures they are hiding; despite being less than twenty five minutes in duration, there’s more going on here than many bands, one man or otherwise, might attempt to fit into a whole album, and for that attention to detail and songcraft F. deserves the highest praise. If Spirit of Sulfur in particular isn’t still near the top of my go-to song list at the end of the year I’ll be very surprised.

Worth a listen, then, even if blackened thrash isn’t usually a musical pool you’d dip your toe into. Leave your doubts at the door and just come and listen to someone at the top of their game going about their business – you’ll love it!

La Part du Diable releases on February 19th.