Dawn Of Reprisal

Written by: AP on 04/03/2009 00:39:36

Not impressed. Let these be the opening words of the latest of my reviews, which as you may have noticed, come a few among many. Under surgical critique this time is the scarcely mentioned British metallic hardcore, hard metalcore, deathcore, or why don't we just say metal band Malefice. More specifically, held on suspicion of mediocrity as dictated by the only time I have seen this band live is their third album, "Dawn of Reprisal". I shall pause for a moment here to revisit the brief preamble and add a conjunction, "but", and a clause, "not entirely unimpressed, either", as my initial reaction is more positive than I had anticipated. Some progress has happened and some steps have been taken to diversify what I remember only as an unambitious mosh-mania.

Album-opener "The Midas Effect" and its next of kin, "Abandon Hope", showcase Malefice in a rather different light: thrashy and melodic. The melody isn't as ear-piercing as in the music of the Gothenburg giants and their many imitators, but rather the same dark sound described in another review this week of a Chilean thrash metal outfit which goes by the name of Criminal. Indeed, this is probably the best place to point to when referencing the new music of Malefice. Let not yourself be fooled by the elaborate title of "An Architect of Your Demise", for it is but a fancy label designed to bury the truth, that the song is too eclectic for its own good and ends up sounding rather sloppy and lackluster.

"End of Days", on the other hand, has a killer riff and is the first instance of any sort of atmosphere in the album. It is also Dale's first attempt at clean vocals; and when those kick in, one wishes it would also be his last. "Human Portrait" follows with a far more severe attitude, packing a decent thrash groove which unfolds to a grandiose finale with, you guessed it, more clean singing - albeit of the more acceptable, spoken word kind. Given the tiny dozes in which these atrocities comes amid the harsher vocals, however, they aren't worth raising a huge fuss about. In fact, were it not for the anonymity of the screaming (compare them to just about any chugga-chugga-core outfit), they might even drown in the bass-heavy mix.

Sadly these two songs are as good as it gets, and from then on it's a steady decline down the samey-slope. On request, I could probably name several hundred identical bands that, just as Malefice, have nailed all things technical but lack in ambition. These bands settle for catering to an audience that is already there instead of finding ways to create new cliques and repel all things experimental for the sake of safety. As such "Dawn of Reprisal", while undoubtedly a solid record, is average at best. It will sell several copies, find its way to a few playlists by illegal means and then be forgotten.


Download: End of Days, Human Portrait

For the fans of: Criminal, Sylosis, The Burning

Listen: Myspace

Release date 02.03.2009

Metal Blade

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