Review Summary: Steel City's latest offer up a crushing debut.
Sometimes in life you have to give an album time to grow on you. Even if you didn't feel any great affinity with it the first time round you just need to give it a few more listens before it all starts to click and make sense. This album came out two years ago now so I've heard more than enough times to form an opinion of it, but I didn't need two years. I was hooked in seconds.
After forming in 2010, five Sheffield lads watched on as local band While She Sleeps rose to success and went on to release the whopping debut full length album 'This is the Six'. The aim? To follow in their footsteps. While Malevolence don't sound much like 'Sleeps' there is an element of hardcore in their music, but the beauty of this album is the plethora of elements on display. The band have spoken about how they've been influenced by the likes of Pantera, Lamb of God and Hatebreed, all of which can be heard laced through 'Reign of Suffering'. However, there's also whiffs of thrash here and there and even some doom metal to be heard on the 7-minute epic, 'Turn to Stone'. The dynamics of this astonishing debut though, all point toward the groove side of things. And yes, it is astonishing.
The album boots off with a track called 'In the Face of Death', giving you a fine introduction to this 36-minute monster. Frontman Alex Taylor leads the attack with a simply terrific vocal performance from start to finish. Just when you think you've got him figured out, three quarters of the way through 'Delusions of Fear' he releases a section of low-pitched guttural growls that'll get the nod of approval from metalheads all around the world. Thankfully though, it doesn't end there. It's the sumptuous riffs on this album that'll have you yearning from more. From the exquisite intro to lead single 'Condemned to Misery', to the southern-style rock 'n' roll riff that commands the following track 'Serpents Chokehold', Malevolence really do have it all. Fantastically precise and creative drumming and a bass performance to match, they don't even fall into the age old 'verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus' trap, there are plenty of songs that see to that.
So where now for the Steel City men? They've dished out a quite brilliant debut album to further promote the UK metal scene, and we now have to hope that they have more to offer and that they don't become yet another band who in years to come will have us all saying, "Yeah it's not bad I suppose, but it's still not as good as the first album."
I for one think that Malevolence are more than capable of following up this record, and if rumours are anything to go by, we'll have our answer at some point later this year.