Despite the world being in an Orwellian lockdown, sitting at the behest of medical briefings and communicating through various electronic screens and layers of medical paraphernalia, Sheffield hardcore act Malevolence are as active as ever. With new EP The Other Side released on April 23rd, the band have been working on developing a new sound that will get many in hardcore circles talking and speculating on the path that Malev are putting themselves on in years to come. So, how does a pandemic affect a working band?
“We’re trying to stay productive, keep writing, focus on this new EP we’ve got coming out,” Alex told us over a Skype call.“We’ve got a lot of things going on behind the scenes like with merchandise and stuff and it gives us an opportunity to get the ‘boring’ stuff, the admin stuff out the way. It’s been cool to see everyone staying safe, looking after each other.” Despite the pandemic, Malev have simply taken their work-ethic and moved it indoors, Alex confirming that the band’s relentless style is mimicked internally too.
“Josh (lead guitarist) is at home writing riffs and we’ll chat about them and talk about ideas for songs and concepts whereas Wilkie (bass) will focus on merch and keeping that on lockdown and ticking over. Everyone’s doing their own little bits - practices have been put on hold for now, they’re not a priority.”
Despite the absence of practices, the band have managed to put out an EP in a circumstance where many bands have delayed production and releases due to the Covid-19 pandemic currently stretching across the world. With that release comes several indications of a new horizon for Malevolence, as well as being the first piece of music since the band’s last album Self Supremacy hit shelves in 2017.
“We’re never one of these bands who can churn out an album every two years,” states Alex.
“We put a lot of effort, a lot of work into everything we release. We wanted something that could bridge the gap between our last album and our next album and demonstrate our song-writing abilities, to push the boat out and challenge ourselves.”
That energy and ambitious intent is particularly felt on title track ‘The Other Side’, a deliberately slower, methodical and much more emotive song than the band have ever written. “As soon as I heard it, I thought ‘this is huge’ – we’ve ventured down the softer side before with ‘Turn to Stone’ but this is way different.”
“I thought it would give us an opportunity to show our writing skills and show off something completely new. The end-product is something that we’re all really proud of and we think it’ll catch people off-guard. That’s why we put it on last, we know it’s going to be a talking point.”
Not only does the EP come with the opinion-generating title track, but also blesses us with a hardcore match-made-in-heaven with ‘Keep Your Distance’, a song featuring the charismatic and instantly recognisable screams of Knocked Loose’s Bryan Garris.
“I felt like his vocal style fit that track quite well, and it was cool to have a good friend on that track. We had our good friend Elliot Ingham there too, so it was like ‘you know what, lets record a video as well’. It was very natural how it all came together.”
Alongside Garris, Malevolence have spread their wings not just musically but through artwork and perhaps most notably, production too. The selection of Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine producer Carl Brown should and will turn heads within the metal world as a signal of the bands intent to transcend their genre and progress to the next stage of their career, arguably similar to paths taken by bands such as Parkway Drive or even Bring Me The Horizon. “We hit Carl up and he was really stoked with the ideas we sent him. I think he did an amazing job making us sound massive. That’s what we’ve been pushing for, the bigger sound.”
“This is the direction we’re gonna be going in future and that’s the thing I really like about Carl – he’s managed to capture the energy of Malev and he’s based not too far from Sheffield. We’re really happy with the work that he did.”Assuming the world is approaching normality by late summer of beyond, Malev will be wasting no time getting back to what they do best: shows.
“First chance we get to go out and do shows, we won’t mess about.” But until then, what is on Alex’s pandemic playlist (copyright pending)? “DMA’s from Austraila, they’re my go-to at the moment. They’ve got some great albums and new album coming out called Silver – but yeah, enjoying their MTV’s Unplugged album especially.”
Maybe a Malevolence acoustic album in future, perhaps?! Stay tuned.
You can listen to the entire interview with Malevolence’s Alex Taylor on the Noizze podcast here.