Review Summary: A slight step out of a creative rut present since the mid 90s for the band, but still nothing too impressive or interesting.
Malevolent Creation had the precondition to improve towards the early 2000s; having acquired Rob Barrett after his departure from Cannibal Corpse, they suddenly had the man who played on their strongest album, Retribution, and Rob's experience in the (at the time) more technical band likely brought even more prowess to the table. Surprisingly, however, his first album with Malevolent after his return, The Fine Art Of Murder
, didn't mark much of a step up from In Cold Blood
, wielding weaker production and not highly improved music, although it did move towards a thrashier side of the band that was perhaps missing on the more groove oriented album that proceeded it. Envenomed
followed, and while it showed another another slight improvement, it didn't wield anything particularly new musically. The Will The Kill
also shows a small progression, but this time the stronger production values help to accentuate its force, groove, and sheer speed.
Instrumentally the band hasn't really demonstrated much advancement; the guitar's are still fairly strong, with marginally better riffing than on the previous album, and decent guitar solos, including a guest solo from Mana Recording Studio man Shawn Ohtani on All That Remains
. The bass is audible yet it feels extremely standard, not really doing too much that is different to the guitar work. The drumming is probably the strongest element of the band, with quick tempo changes and with a veritable volley of blasts and fast double bass and fills. Vocally, the new vocalist, Kyle Simmons, isn't anything too different from longtime favorite Brett Hoffman, but has a slightly more hardcore vocal style that will probably put off some, although it isn't too repulsive. Unfortunately, the lyrics are still really, really bad at times. The title track's embarrassing "The Will..... To Kill... The Will to ****ing kill" line, that gets repeated a few times, ultimately sticks out painfully; elsewhere though, the lyrics are solid for the most part.
Musically, the songs pretty much go "by the numbers", with predictable, but at least tried-and-tested, structures; efforts like Pillage And Burn
and The Cardinal's Law
hardly get off to great starts, although both feature fairly catchy riffs in their duration. In contrast, a couple of tracks stick out due to their sheer energy at their beginnings': All That Remains
and the title track, both of which open with catchy riffs and manage to feature elements that differentiate them from the rest. The riff work can get fairly repetitive, but some slight variations help to make it relatively interesting towards the end, and the extra kick given by the high velocity but groovy Burnt Beyond Recognition
helps to keep the tail end of the album in reasonable order. Still, too many tracks lack the impact of the albums peak moments, which are focused towards the beginning of the album, making it drag noticeably during its second half.
Ultimately, it's unreasonable to expect anything exceptional from The Will To Kill. It breaks no new ground, for sure, but it's reasonably entertaining with some strong songs and riffs showing up periodically. Still, it's hardly a game changer and, sadly, the albums that follow it aren't either. Ultimately, fans of the band will probably enjoy this album a fair bit, but it's not too interesting to the casual death metal listener, although it's definitely listenable and entertaining enough.
The Will To Kill
All That Remains
Burnt Beyond Recognition
With Murderous Precision