posted on 12/2007 By:
2007 has been one hell of a year for the UK metal scene. Mithras finally cashed in on their potential, releasing an absolutely stunning album that should be hailed for years to come. Sarpanitum produced one of the most impressive death metal debuts since Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, and Evile thrashed out a whirlwind disc that similarly belied their youth. Now, with the year coming to a close, fans of devastating, modern-minded metal would be wise to scope out fellow islanders Malefice before finalizing their best-of lists.
Combining furious melodeathrash in the vein of One Kill Wonder and Perfection in Pain with gargantuan, Beneath The Massacre-style breakdowns, Malefice certainly aren’t rewriting scripture with this debut album. It’s obvious that their brand of havoc is far from unique; in fact, none of these badass British bands are all that original. They just happen to be doing their respective thing better than anyone else, and Malefice prove to be no exception to this trend. Entities is a face-wrecking, extremely impressive album, jam-packed with the massive riffs and energetic drumming that is requisite for this type of attack. And while their tectonic thwompdowns give a bit of a metalcore stank to the record (I did warn that this was modern, people), they are rigidly built to induce furious headbanging and not Cro-Magnon floorpunching. Best of all, their spirited Gothenburg leanings exude an intensity that has largely been missing from the genre for past 5 years or so. Essentially, this is the album The Duskfall could’ve made if they hadn’t muffed the punt.
The coolest thing about this album is the way it flows from track to track. This thing is fully-fleshed and finely crafted (unlike this review), and in contrast to many of their peers, they seem to grasp the concept of patience and psychology as it relates to songwriting. This genre has been bogged down by countless scumdogs in seek of instant payoff, and Malefice have both the talent and self-awareness to realize that a handful of riffs and a stolen melody does not make a compelling piece of music. The initial tracks are enjoyable enough, with "Dreams Without Courage" being a shining star, as they follow the blueprint outlined in the above paragraph. But their bitter charm is best exemplified at the album’s midway point. The mid-paced churners “Traitor To All You Know” and “Horizon Burns” show the band’s true mettle, and are simply stunning. When they stray from the formula and play with their tempos, the intensity only increases. Razor-sharp riffing takes on an uplifting bite that harkens back to that aforementioned Swedish glory, while vocalist Dale Butler rips out some über-intense hooks. Truly, these two tracks are the highlights, and accentuate some abnormal potential. Following this ride of ultra-catchy anthemry, Entities takes a slight left turn into faux tech-death territory, thus ending the album in a fury of beautifully/brutally produced 400-ton heaviness. Such rollercoaster excitement is absent from the arsenals of panflash scensters, and these dudes prove to be the real deal in displaying pure power and conviction.
Basically, they’ve applied their own personality traits to an amalgamation of standard formulas, and executed it masterfully; truly, that’s all a metal fan can really ask for these days. Malefice are precise, destructive, and wickedly skilled (especially hard-hitting kit monster Craig Thomas), and have managed to stand head-and-shoulders over nearly all their peers with one fell swoop. Even though this album is peppered with occasional filler, it’s a showcase for greater things to come. New-school beatdown mongrels that have worn out the latest Devildriver album’s three-month shelf life should snag this shard o' metal immediately, and other curious parties should be stoked over the fact that a new band is breathing life into an oversaturated sound. Malefice make some kickass heavy metal, so listen up and take note, because this is a band to watch.
Time to go grow that hair out guys...the world stage awaits.
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