Malevolence – Malicious Intent (Nuclear Blast Records)

Sheffield mosh masters Malevolence just seem to be going from strength to strength. A recent successful UK arena run with Architects, in which they did not look out of place and now a monstrous new album in Malicious Intent. If you listen closely, you can probably hear the hardcore kids crying “sell out” but nothing could be further from the truth as this could be their most brutal outing to date.

Look to second track Life Sentence for further proof. Savage riffing, barrels headlong into harsh beatdowns to match anything the likes of Terror or Madball could produce. On Broken Glass is the perfect track to showcase their collective influences as groove metal makes way for thrash metal which in turns makes way for a giant NOLA influenced chorus. One of the many things that sets Malevolence apart from the million other bands that attempt this sound is the, quite frankly, exceptional guitar work. There’s a definite Dimebag Darrell influence at play here, none more than on Still Waters Run Deep. Higher Place takes us to a different kind of heavy with a tortured epic that recalls Crowbar in their more sombre moments. This is next level stuff and perhaps the standout track on the album. They come flying back at you with another wedge of ferocious hardcore in Karma, which is one for people that like to throw down in the pit. Kublai Khan’s Matt Honeycutt steps in for a guest spot on Above All Else a riffy technical bruiser while Trivium’s Matt Heafy steps in for an appearance on the metal epic that is Salvation.

Malicious Intent represents a band rising out of the confines of hardcore and showing exactly what they are made of. It’s an album that won’t alienate older fans as, the hardcore spirit is still present in every track, but it will certainly gain them a few more, as they’ve upped the ante in all ways possible. Every emerging band has a game changing album that sees them transcend to the next level. Malicious Intent is Malevolence’s game changer….Chris Andrews

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