Formed for the Reason of Unleashing Sonic Destruction & Corruption through Epistemic Terrorism and Bibliophilistic Atavism.
The quote was taken from the band's MySpace page and better sums up their chaotic and wondrous mix of elements than I ever could. Malefeasance is the other L'Acephale debut album, and it's even longer and more experimental than Stahlhartes Gehäuse. What black metal you'll find on this release is the exception rather than the rule, but it makes for no less fascinating a listen (at least for half of the record).
The 80 minutes of escape begins with the chilling "Väinämöinen Nacht" (10:06), with its swelling ambient electronics and samples of chanting and shouting that create undullating rhythms against the backdrop. "Hitori Bon Odori" (8:45) begins with a long passage of rambling acoustics, gentle militant percussion, and haunting ambience, with a dash of black metal in the background during the latter half. "A Burned Village" (4:50) has some thundering drums, light synths and wailing bleeding black guitar line and snarls. "From a Miserable Abode (Alt Mix)" (18:09) is an epic ballast of screaming tones and filtered noise vocals, though the last few minutes of pipes create a stark contrast and clarity. It was interesting, but also the most annoying track on either of their full-lengths. The band has also included an extensive cover of Current 93's "Sleep Has His House", with droning electronics and mixed black/gothic vocals. "Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted" (22:59) brings an end to the album with some hypnotic acoustics, ambient and noise.
Malefeasance is rather mesmerizing for about half it's playtime, but the noise mix and cover song lost me, as neither is up to the standards of the remainder. Stahlhartes Gehäuse is a more focused overall experience, but if you have listened to that and enjoyed it, this is well worth the time for it's first three tracks and the epic length finale.
Verdict: Win [7.5/10]