Sheffield metalcore monsters Malevolence step outside of their comfort zone with new album “Malicious Intent”
I’ll say it now – I’m not that big a fan of metalcore/deathcore/ whatevercore, so in taking on this Malevolence album to review, I was also stepping outside of my own comfort zone.
First off, I have to say that I think the cover art is stunning. A beautiful yet sinister painting, that depicts what looks like several people either drowning or fighting to stay above water. First track “Malicious Intent” also starts off very nicely. Then in comes what I don’t like about these “Core” subgenres. The vocals sounded exactly like I was expecting them to. The main riff also just as predictable. On the plus side, it certainly hits hard, clocking in at 1:40. Will it get better I ask myself? read on to find out….
Just as you draw breath, “Life Sentence” comes along, and is a proper heavy monster of a track. A great riff and pummeling drums are the order of the day with this one. Just about halfway though, we start to get a sense of what the band meant when front man Alex Taylor meant in his statement “We made it a point to step outside of our comfort zone“. What he means by that is no doubt the addition of clean sung vocals with lots of melody laid over his gruff bellows.
This is further brought to the fore with third track “On Broken Glass“. Hard thrashy riffs, and a pretty much breakneck gallop for all but a few parts where it slows, and allows the melodic vocals to kick in. Smashing track!
Still Waters Run Deep…
The track with this title starts off with a rather bluesy riff, and a much slower pace than on the previous songs. It’s got that doomy stoner type vibe to it that Black Sabbath can do. The track ends with a very typical beatdown. This does however work perfectly, as following track “Higher Place” is effectively a very heavy, yet emotional ballad. Not your typical metalcore song at all and is a brave move channeling the spirit of Pantera‘s “Cemetary Gates“. Very good indeed.
Worry not though if this is not for you. The next track “Karma” is a much more typical kind of song. In your face from the off, the mid section comes as a surprise, as it slows down and hits with those clean vocals again. It then starts to heavy up again with a beatdown section, that chugs along until the end of the track.
Guest vocals time!
Malevolence has roped in Matt Honeycutt from US metalcore band Kublai Khan to lend his vocal chords to “Above All Else“. I have to say, that they compliment the track well, as they are so similar to Taylor’s vocals. Its another fast paced and very aggressive song. “Do or Die” follows along at a similar pace, very much a cut from the same cloth.
“Salvation” is the second guest spot song. In this case it is Matt Heafy who most of you will know as singer and guitarist in Trivium. Another typical song of this style, that once again uses clean and harsh vocals for the chorus to good effect.
Yes, we are at the end now with the aptly named “Armageddon“. I was most definitely expecting this one to be a light the blue touch paper and run like hell kind of track… Well it threw me a curve ball.
Starting at a walking type pace, it starts to pick up as it goes, hitting mid paced, before the middle section decides to crush you with a slow doomy riff and beatdown. Once again as shown throughout the album, the band have not been shy with melody or clean vocals. It gives this track a much weightier impact than if it had just gone for full on fury and speed.
I have to say, that it has taken me several listens to fully appreciate this work, and each occasion allowed me to finally appreciate it more. The production is spot on, and there is fine musicianship to be heard. As a result, it would be harsh to just class it as “another” metalcore album. It transcends the genre, and I have to praise the band for making something different to the norm.
Is it my favourite album of the year? No, it is not – However, it could be yours!
01 – Malicious Intent
02 – Life Sentence
03 – On Broken Glass
04 -Still Waters Run Deep
05 – Higher Place
06 – Karma
07 – Above All Else (featuring Matt Honeycutt)
08 – Do Or Die
09 – Salvation (featuring Matthew K Heafy)
10 – Armageddon
- £17 CD or £25 Vinyl