Malevolence // Guilt Trip // Bailer // Live Review // The Limelight II // Belfast
So tonight has been marked in the calendar since it was announced way back when, we last caught up with Malevolence at Bloodstock Open Air Festival in August 2021, that in itself feels like a lifetime ago now and it was our first taste of freedom after an unbelievable two years. The guys absolutely decimated the main stage at BOA21 and right there, right then everyone knew their time had come.
Tonight see the guy’s first-ever headline tour come through Ireland and after tearing a new one in Dublin last night, they are ready to do it all over again in Belfast tonight. In two we have Manchester Hardcore band Guilt Trip and Irish lads Bailer, one of the local scenes’ most formidable Hardcore/Metalcore purveyors. This is going to be messy.
Bailer is up first and after dropping their Disposable Youth LP recently these guys have had a long wait to drive home this music live, we caught the crew once again at BOA21 on the Sophie Lancaster Stage and Bloodstock knew they witnessed something pretty special that day. No doubt tonight will be no less brutal. An early start on a Saturday evening and a contrast of styles as Bjorn Again takes place next door against the brutality of Bailer. Savage doesn’t even cut it, the visceral nature of the performance is breathtaking in itself, the weight of the riffs and the pummelling backline break your very back with the pressure from the stage. The Belfast crowd are feeling it, with every thrash of the guitars, slamming drums and screaming vocals Belfast takes the beating gratefully.
Guilt Trip has its own version of short, sharp, shock, tracks that hit you like a blow to the head, this Manchester quintet is a formidable force and delivers it like a freight train. Every track is as fierce as the next battering you over and over again with a relentless pace that is hard to keep up with. Like a battering ram they just keep coming at you track after track leaving you bloodied and bruised and thanking them for it. An absolutely killer performance has the Limelight massive eating out of the plan of their hands and a more than worthy partner on this line up, Guilt Trip are a band that is only going one way!
The time has come for Malevolence to take to the stage, the guys in the crowd are busted already from two stellar bands but Malevolence just step it up another gear, the last time we saw them was ripping up the stage at BOA21 but tonight in the intimate setting of The Limelight II feels like we’re on a battlefield. The intensity is unreal, the heft that the two guitarists put out along with the most savage sounding bass and drums is a thing to behold.
The room is packed and the energy is through the roof, ask and you shall receive as Malevolence frontman Alex Taylor asks the Belfast crowd to join in on vocals, the Belfast crowd is more than happy to lend a hand. I don’t think I’ve seen as intense a show in a long time here, people bring the noise but these three bands shifted into another gear and Malevolence is an entity unto themselves, an absolute barbaric performance rips through the walls shredding the faces in front of them, a crazy beautiful balance of violence and mutual admiration fills the room as a community of heft and hardcore loving people gather to give it everything for three hours. 3 blistering bands, 3 powerful sets, bruised and battered punters with smiles as big as the riffs in the room and going home in worse shape but in a better place than when they arrived. If ever there was a cure for the bullshit of the last two years this was it! An astronomical night’s music delivered like a raging bull in Pamplona. What’s not to love!
“We wanted to write an album that encompasses our sound – but we wanted to push It further and go deeper,” says Malevolence frontman Alex Taylor. Indeed, with their third album, Malicious Intent, the Sheffield-born Malevolence has done just that. Ask anyone who has seen ‘em setting fire to tiny pressure-cooker hardcore gigs to igniting massive pits at big-stage metal festivals. Anyone who witnessed their set at Bloodstock 2021, knows that this is their reckoning hour. Malevolence has truly arrived. Formed in the north of England, Malevolence has perfected a sound of their own that swaggers like a band born in New-Fucking-Orleans while embracing the power of the riff and the brutality of the breakdown. “We made it a point to step outside our comfort zone,” says Taylor, “but also do what we started this band to do in the first place – play the metal that we want to hear.”
From the hard-as-Sheffield steel title track that opens the album, Malevolence has upped their own ante. To paraphrase one of their biggest influences, Pantera, it’s the sound of a band on a “New Level”. You can spot the influences – those unforgettable wrecking ball riffs rooted in the hate-sludge of Crowbar, the guitar finesse of Dimebag Darrell and the all-out catchiness and brutality of Hatebreed, Malevolence has asserted their status not merely as a contender, but as force to be reckoned with.
Malicious Intent Release date: 20 MAY 2022