I was recently given an advance listen to vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva’s new three-track Malediction EP, due to be released via Listenable Records on May 28th. Following is a rundown of what the digital-only shot in the head has to offer…

Back when vinyl was king, it was common for bands to release 12” EPs featuring exclusive material to tide fans over while waiting for the artist’s next full length album. More often than not this material was top notch stuff rather than the uninspired cut / paste filler “bonus tracks” that often get tacked onto the end of present day releases. That said, it’s something of a pity that vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva’s new Malediction EP is a digital-only affair, because the three songs featured reflect that era; quality music created in the interest of giving the fans something special.

Malediction is short, sweet, and to the bloody point, boasting material as good as if not better than that featured on Sarah’s previous solo outing, The Corruption Of Mercy. Lead track ‘Lies Define Us’ is a gorgeous and memorable hook-laden piece standing head and shoulders above typical goth metal fluff, featuring Soilwork frontman Björn “Speed” Strid singing clean harmonies against Sarah’s leads and clocking in under four minutes for maximum impact. In contrast, ‘When “It” Catches Up With You’ is about the Sarah Jezebel Deva band as a whole rather than being a vocal showcase, officially smacking Angtoria off its pedestal as being the strongest band-oriented work Ms. Deva has ever done thanks to riff-heavy guitars, monster drums, with everyone involved getting a chance to shine.

The icing on the cake, however – or the thorn in the eye as he’d probably dub it himself – is Cradle Of Filth frontman Dani trading lead vocals with his former backing singer on ‘This Is My Curse’. And it’s a performance guaranteed to please any fan of the Nyphetamine and Thornography albums. He could have faked his way through it and phones in a flat-headed performance, but backed by a canvas of blastbeats and black metal attitude, Little Lord Filth sings, grunts, whispers, shrieks, moans and screams his way through the track at his theatrical best. No question, COF fans will be impressed. Sarah, meanwhile, leads the charge with the sort of performance that would and should have been welcome on a Cradle Of Filth record.

It’s also worth noting that in a twisted act of fate, former Cradle Of Filth keyboardist / composer Martin Powell agreed to come on board and add his talents to Malediction. He gives the EP just the right amount of symphonics, proving that less is indeed more when compared to the majority of present day orchestral metal car crashes currently on the go.

Here’s hoping initial sales numbers will be strong enough for Listenable Records to consider printing a limited run of Malediction on vinyl, or at least on CD (in other words, BUY it, don’t steal it). It’s much too good to be restricted to the digital ether.

– ‘This Is My Curse’ is available for streaming courtesy of Dominion Magazine here.

Watch for an in-depth interview with Sarah, coming soon. We discuss the new EP and Sarah’s bandmates, Björn Strid’s and Dani Filth’s contributions to the EP, life after Cradle Of Filth, and luring Martin Powell into the Malediction production with the promise of a bar of soap.

Sarah Jezebel Deva

Björn “Speed” Strid

Dan Abela

Dani Filth