Since day one Malevolence has done what they wanted on their own terms. Since the band’s first album “Reign of Suffering” which threw the band in 2013 into the spotlight as newcomers born on a diet of Pantera, Lamb Of God & Hatebreed the band quickly became the hottest ticket in the UK & Euro metal scene.
It wouldn’t be until 2017 & a lengthy wait for the band to release “Self Supremacy”. The next stage of evolution for the band & a harder, more focused record. Still featuring the influence of the new way of heavy metal in the 00s from the likes of Chimera & Trivium but adding that harder beatdown & euro hardcore style of bands like Nasty.
“Self Supremacy” opened a lot of doors for Mavelonce. Support slots with Dying Fetus, Knocked Loose & a recent arena tour with Architects show that Malevolence has what it takes to blur genres & play to the smallest & biggest crowds.
In 2020 the band released “The Other Side” the newest music to date & hinting at the next chapter in the Malevolence gospel.
“Malicious Intent” is their newest offering, and it pretty much delivers on every front. In short it’s the best metal record for the past few years.
Now these might be big words but for someone who has been a fan of the band since their inception, I can safely say “Malicious Intent” is an all-encompassing record that was 10 years in the making.
Even opening the album with the title track “Malicious Intent” is firing on all cylinders like usual. A great quick intro but a stonker.
Chugging breakdowns with inventive quick lead sections in typical Malev style but already we can tell the band is putting in every ounce of effort & the production is even better than on “Self Supremacy” or “The Other Side”.
One of the relentless tracks the band have written to date follows the monolith “Life Sentence”. A fantastic vocal interplay between vocalist Alex Taylor & Konan Hall starts showing early on the album. A style the band have been adding to their sonic delivery since “Self Supremacy” on this track & on the rest of the album they have been able to perfectly tow the line & add so much texture, pain & honesty to their music through it.
The band’s first single “On Broken Glass” shows the bouncy party side of the band but they are still able to make the track an emotional offering. “Drown me out, open heavens above my head
Washed away by a thousand, a thousand tears I’ve shed..” Konan sings in his beautiful soulful style reminiscent of Kirk from Crowbar.
A quick frantic solo lead section from guitarist & fret wizard Josh Baines raises the track to the top bar right before the band break into this perfectly “nu mutual” twingled breakdown.
Ending the track again with Konan’s vocal section is a fantastic way to leave “On Broken Glass” on a high note.
At the halfway mark of the album, the band unleashes “Higher Place”.
The very emotional “ballad” on the album. “The Other Side” on the band’s last EP was a huge step which paid off. And personally, it resonated with me personally as I had just lost my father to cancer just before its release. “Higher Place” is a beautiful continuation of that.
You wouldn’t think a band that is as heavy & brutal as Malevolence could write such a beautiful & perfect song that showcases the human condition but they have been able to write a song that will be seen as a legacy song. If this was the only track that Malevolence ever wrote it would be the best ballad ever written. Fact. Make sure you have the tissues ready for this one, you will need them to trust me. I’ve shed a lot of tears on this track.
Now for the heaviest track & my new favourite Malevolence track. “Above All Else” featuring Matt Honeycutt of Kublai Khan.
If this track makes it into the band’s live set I can see limbs being broken & body bags aplenty.
A track affirming that Malevolence does what they want on their own terms. Opening in a dreamy echoing clean guitar riff before the tracks build as drummer Charlie Thorpe thumps the toms build to a heavy hitter. One of the catchiest choruses in the Malevolence catalogue all builds to the bridge as Matt Honeycutt kicks down the door with his pissed of style screaming “All i want is to live my way, No fucking bullshit. No blockades..” It’s a perfect team up to make all the naysayers remember Malevolence are here to stay.
“Salvation” sees the band come full circle. In many interviews, the band stated Trivium is a big influence for the band so the track featuring Matthew K. Heafy is a huge moment & for the moment they have written the most epic track the band has created to date.
Featuring yet again another perfect earworm of the chorus not only is that the driving force of the track but the trade-off between Matt Heafy & Alex is perfect. A great contrast that adds the perfect last layer to one of the most riff-driven tracks on the album. For all the guitar nerds this track is for you.
The closing track seems to be the darkest track & deserves its title “Armageddon”. A very heavy slow riffs, Crowbar-equse in its delivery. A bridge section that has a riff so heavy it could crack the earth’s crust. Even though it’s the album closer, Malevolence has kept the songwriting quality to its fullest & it couldn’t think of a perfect way to close the band’s best album to date.
“Malicious Intent” is the best Malevolence album in the band’s history. Not only is it the band’s best but it’s a landmark in the metal genre. And the album that builds bridges between hardcore, death metal & metalcore. Malevolence is genreless & a rare case of a perfect storm
With Malicious Intent & the band’s recent announcement of headlining the Sophie Lancaster stage at this year’s Bloodstock the band will be taking over the globe & the world Malevolence is the king of metal & they are here to stay.
Malicious Intent is out on the 20th of May 2022 via Nuclear Blast & MLVLTD Records.
1. Malicious Intent
2. Life Sentence
3. On Broken Glass
4. Still Waters Run Deep
5. Higher Place
7. Above All Else featuring Matt Honeycutt (Kublai Khan)