Reign of Suffering
Siege of Amida Records
11 November 2013
by Gavin Lloyd
You could argue that we’ve reached a point where music can’t offer us anything completely original, and with more music at our disposal than ever before it’s now increasingly rare to discover something that sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. Perhaps that’s why so many bands attempt to make a lasting impression these days by picking as broad a range of musical influences as possible and combine them in the hope of making something close to new and exciting. This certainly seems to be the approach Malevolence have taken on their new album Reign of Suffering, drawing as they do from a plethora of modern, retro metal and hardcore source material.
Reign Of Suffering is an album that deals in the somewhat more credible side of the respective founding genres, making them far more palatable for the heavy music purists. There’s far more hues of the likes of Terror and Lamb of God than your average Rise-core band, but their genre blending has mixed results. Song structures chop and change throughout the album, but they often still utilise the same bag of tricks; you may not know exactly when the m0sh bro beatdowns are going to come, but plenty of them sure do show up over the course of the album. The metal influence that shines through offers some great moments though, with some excellently executed solos sitting alongside some great groove-infused riffing. The album’s highlight though is undoubtedly the 7 minute plus ‘Turn To Stone’, with its more standardised structure providing a slow building pace and seeing the band demonstrate an occasional willingness to push themselves from out of their comfort zone.
Frontman Alex Taylor’s performance is a similar mixed bag. His vocals would be hard to pick out in a shouty-bloke-identity-parade. While the chest-beating, stands-of-defiance on ‘Condemned To Misery’ give you something to really get your teeth into and shout along to, lyrically he often reverts to boring nothingness. There are too many mentions of demons and souls, etc, that essentially don’t mean anything to anybody. Far from being a complex and abstract concept, Hell has become the meeting point for lazy lyricists. Just a tip for any budding song writers out there but why not choose a different fictional landscape to reference in your songs? What about Narnia? The king in Narnia is a lion! There’s loads of great material there.
So while when it’s good it is great, when Reign Of Suffer is bad it’s boring and unimaginative. There’s clearly enough talent in Malevolence to get one over many of the lacklustre metal and hardcore bands that make up their peers, but the band currently lack the character necessary to really make them really stand out from that crowd. It is no doubt a solid album, but the band’s attempt to tick all the boxes with Reign Of Suffering let’s them down. A more concentrated effort could’ve make this something truly special.
Sounds Like: Your average teenage metal and/or hardcore internet trolls iTunes library.
Standout Tracks: Turn To Stone, Serpent’s Chokehold, Eternal Torment.