The very title of Malevolence’s new record should tell you all you need to know about what to expect.
Malicious Intent (Nuclear Blast) is the third full-length release from the groove-meets-metalcore five-piece outfit hailing from the UK and follows up 2017’s Self Supremacy. Boasting all original members, Malevolence has returned with a vengeance, though one that is tempered.
The lyrics are aggressive – in the same vein as hardcore legends Terror – and lead singer Konan Hall is gravelly to his core on ‘Armageddon,’ a simple but serviceable end-of-the-world anthem. That level of aggression is replicated on ‘Do Or Die’ and especially on ‘Karma,’ a true heavyweight-caliber haymaker delivered right on the button.
The level of intensity on display is unfortunately marred a bit by tamer sections and clean singing that works against the high-energy offerings. ‘Higher Place’ is a textbook rock ballad, but the mellow intro (which isn’t confined to this one song) takes away from the belligerence.
‘Above All Else’ features Kublai Khan’s Matt Honeycutt, and the rhythm section alone reduces your diaphragm to dust. It’s also packed; a clean intro, a breakdown, a clean hook and a blegh are all squeezed into the billowing track.
Matt Heafy (Trivium) is also tabbed for a guest appearance (‘Salvation’), and contributes with fierceness particularly in the second half of the song.
To be a stickler, though, there isn’t much in the way of groove on Malicious Intent. That void could have been filled with volume-on-eleven-level bedlam. Instead, the propensity to shoehorn calmer sections takes the bite off the record. Malevolence shows they are fully capable of bringing the thunder, so why dangle a carrot in front of us?
The intent is no doubt clear, but the malice isn’t.
7 / 10