Following hot on the heels of the celebrated "Subliminal Genocide", XASTHUR thankfully resisted the temptation to just deliver a follow-up. Instead the depressive black metal pioneers returned to a more direct approach and strong underground feeling with their sixth album "Defective Epitaph". This epic 2007 full-length radiates self-loathing, misanthropic hatred, and echoes of a truly broken spirit. XASTHUR were originally created by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Scott Conner in California, USA in the year 1995. Setting out as a depressive black metal project in the wake of the Scandinavian second wave, XASTHUR established a reputation as pioneers and spearheads of USBM over the course of nine albums, a host of split-singles, EPs, and occasional demos. In 2010, Scott closed this chapter by announcing the end of XASTHUR. After returning with an acoustic dark folk project under the banner of NOCTURNAL POISONING, the enigmatic frontman revived the name XASTHUR, but declared his black metal days to be gone for good, while moving on to dark modern folk style deeply imbued with assorted musical and literal Americana.
The whole album is much like a grim portrait of the human soul, and after the somewhat disappointing effort of Subliminal Genocide, Defective Epitaph is a welcome return to form and variation that Malefic built his reputation on. Malefic uses his paintbrush and canvas to paint a picture of black and grey and just when you believe you are safe from the unending terror of nihilism Malefic appears, in the listener's room with his paintbrush and begins to cover the listener's mind with the paint of absolute horror, the colors of a bleak future. Be wary, for this ground you tread on may fall from beneath you, leaving you with nothing but a gripping sense of loss and the ending torture of Malefic's genius work. - Metal Observer5/5