“This is Malevolence at their absolute best.”
WORDS BY GEORGE DOHERTY
In the year 2020 it would be easy to question where Sheffield hardcore band Malevolence fit in the UK hardcore scene, where the scene appears to have split around them with multiple metalcore bands playing venues as big as Brixton Academy and younger British hardcore bands becoming more experimental and incorporating a wide variety of genres in to their sound. Malevolence would appear to have been left behind by both movements in the eyes of some at the start of the 20’s, so where do Malevolence fit in? The Other Side is their first release since 2017’s Self Supremacy, featuring three tracks that seek to answer the above question.
Opening track Remain Unbeaten offers up a headbanging, fist-pumping, spin-kicking anthem ripe and ready for the live environment. From riffs that snake their way along the fretboard whilst simultaneously chugging harder than a locomotive, to southern American tinged vocals straight out of the Pantera playbook that were so prevalent on Self Supremacy, This is Malevolence at their absolute best. Keep Your Distance features Bryan Garris of Kentucky Hardcore band Knocked Loose, allowing for an interesting vocal dynamic to form, with Garris’ yelp-like screams in stark contrast with vocalist Alex Taylor’s guttural growls over a canvas of some of the most stinkface inducing riffs of the year so far.
The EP ends with title track The Other Side features expansive half-sung half-screamed balladry reminiscent of mainstream modern metalcore (with some classic Malevolence riffs mixed in as well). Lyrically, the track deals with despair and struggle with vocal gut punches from Konan Hall and Alex Taylor such as “I open my eyes i cannot see, I fill my lungs I cannot breathe”. Generally, the idea of a metalcore ballad would put me off but there’s something about The Other Side that just works, perhaps it’s how well the lyrical themes coincide with the current global situation, perhaps Malevolence are just better songwriters than they’ve ever been given credit for. However, I would say that the track taking up the best part of 50% of a twelve minute EP is a bit much.
All in all, Malevolence have proven exactly where they fit in the hardcore scene heading in to the new decade, their place is to write excellent songs jam-packed with bone crushing riffs, and they do their job damn well.
FOR FANS OF
Knocked Loose | Kublai Khan | Terror