MALEVOLENCE - 'Malicious Intent' Album Review
1. Malicious Intent
2. Still Waters Run Deep
4. Higher Place
5. On Broken Glass
6. Do Or Die
7. Life Sentence
8. Salvation (feat. Matthew K. Heafy)
10. Above All Else (feat. Matt Honeycutt)
It’s been a long five years since Malevolence last released an album, many things have happened since 'Self Supremacy' was dropped, the hard-hitting album was a continuation of their debut and was a way of them showing they were serious about making their mark in the Hardcore scene. Unfortunately, COVID put a massive halt onto these plans stopping tours, releases and any further updates from the band. Fast forward to 2022 and the Yorkshire lot have come back with a bang.
Malevolence did what they could during the pandemic releasing an EP – 'The Other Side' – with an aptly named single 'Keep Your Distance' which featured US Hardcore heavyweight Bryan Garris from Knocked Loose. This song was a typical knock your socks off Hardcore track featuring fast riffs, mind-blowing breakdowns and harsh cutting-edge vocals from both vocalists and with over 3,000,000 streams to say it was a success would be a huge understatement.
'Malicious Intent' is once again a fast paced, hard hitting album which takes your head off your shoulders from the get go, much like its predecessor. The title track doesn’t even last twenty seconds before a breakdown is blaring through speakers sending literal chills through anyone who listens to it. The tone has really been set for the rest of this album from this first track and you can expect the rest to be just as brutal. 'Still Waters Run Deep' is up next and it seems to start slower with a more melodic feel perhaps giving guitarist Josh Baines more creative freedom and putting a unique twist to set themselves apart from the standard hardcore sound. It’s not long till the heavy ‘chugs’ are back though, and Alex is screaming ‘Still here after all these years’ into your ears. The song turns into something that is very in your face and explosive and sends a message that Malevolence are still going strong, and people shouldn’t doubt them as they’re here to stay giving the song title a perfect fit.
Malevolence have really stepped up again from 'Self Supremacy' which was a hard task as it really helped them find their sound but they’ve done what seemed impossible and have took this sound and made it into something I don’t think any other band in this genre could replicate to this standard. Keeping to their sound but making it even more prominent has really done wonders for this release giving the spotlight to the other members and creating a whole experience from start to finish. Something that really stands out to me in this album is both Konan and Josh have been allowed to step more into the main stage and showcase their skills, with insanely fast riffs and solos coming from the magician lead guitarist and the rough but soul wrenching vocals being showcased more and more from second in command. The album takes you on a journey of emotions making you angry, hyped and even sad with songs such as 'Higher Place' and 'Do or Die'. Giving off almost old school Metalcore vibes creating similar sounds from the early 2010’s when bands such as A Day to Remember and Asking Alexandria were sitting at the top of the throne, it has everything it needs to be a great success and the final piece of the puzzle to truly make Malevolence one of the greats of the scene.
The standout song for me is 'Above All Else' which features Matt Honeycutt from US Metalcore band Kublai Klan TX. For me, it gives off the same vibe as 'Severed Ties' from their previous album which is the standout song for me on 'Self Supremacy'. Although it’s a very ‘comfortable’ song for Malevolence the right choice has been clearly made creatively. It starts off very slow and eery with Konan’s vocals echoing and the sound of an acoustic being played and suddenly, you’re hit by a barrage of bullets with Alex’s vocals, the heavy riffs yet again and the deafening hits of the snare drum. Fast forward through the track and about halfway through you’re met with a deep growl from Honeycutt who delivers a powerful and catchy verse to get the track through the main act. To end what, in my opinion is the perfect song the chorus is back in full flow again and its quick, catchy, and something to sing along to which gives a sense of inclusion for its fans giving a perfect send off to the album.
There were big shoes to fill after 'Self Supremacy', something I’m sure many people thought Malevolence wouldn’t have been able to top but after listening to this album from start to finish I can say these shoes have been tried on, laced up, and paid for in cash before leaving the store. A mark has certainly been made by this collective and I see these becoming even bigger than they are and truly becoming the best of the best. There is definitely ‘Malicious Intent’ to become the band to be behind this album and I think Malevolence now are that. With an album that is perfection it’s going to be a hard task to beat what they’ve done but if anyone can do it Malevolence can. Expect huge things from this lot.
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Review - Kensey Bailey