Musical dexterity is starting to gain an increasing amount of importance within metal in 2017. While there are corners of extreme metal that are home to bands that have discovered and then mastered their blueprint and intend to stick to it i.e. Municipal Waste or Napalm Death, for bands breaking through the scene – having a blend of styles just generally gives them more room to play with in the future. By this logic; if it’s a well crafted blend of styles you’re looking for, Malevolence will probably be where your search will end.
Emanating from Sheffield, Malevolence super-charged their way onto the hardcore scene with debut album Reign Of Suffering back in late 2013, since then it’s been nothing but progress and violence for the quintet. Having made a name for themselves and causing more than a raucous with their live performances, the Sheffield metallers sophomore effort Self Supremacy establishes the band as one of the most exciting, talented bands in modern metal. Period.
At times almost obnoxiously brave, Self Supremacy is a concoction of ability and creativity. How many albums hold elements of beat down, hardcore, tech metal and at a push even doom within its first 10 minutes? The answer would be starvingly thin, and yet Malevolence accomplish this here – and it blends phenomenally. The constant time changes between the title track, ‘Trial By Fire’ and ‘Severed Ties’ throws a hundred ideas at once, and they all punt you in the face.
Unequivocally one of the most raw, pungent, violent tones to a record you’re likely to hear for some time, there’s an aura of aggression that flows throughout the record – so much so that the moments where Malevolence break off into fields away from beat down hardcore the intensity remains. The wincing solos on ‘Spineless’ and ‘Wasted Breath’ never take away from the carnage that the record starts at every corner.
Arguably ‘Body Count’ and ‘True Colours’ tell the story of Self Supremacy better than anything else. The tech guitar lines of After The Burial, the throat tearing vocals akin to Lamb Of God or even Thy Art Is Murder, the incredibly relentless and technical drum fills similar to Decapitated, and all in all – an outright viciously intensity that gives you brutality, creativity and pace.
Self Supremacy is a kitchen sink of metal that at no point feels like it got too big for its boots, for this many ideas to fall into place within a 50 minute time span whilst sacrificing none of their barbaric tone is borderline phenomenal. With an album of this quality, at their bare bones Malevolence are a beyond talented group of musicians, working in perfect sync with each other – and seem absolutely destined to rule metal at some point in the future, probably soon.
Review by Kristian Pugh