ALBUM REVIEW: MALEVOLENCE – ANTITHETICAL

MALEVOLENCE is an extreme metal act from Portugal that have really made a name for themselves in the underground metal scene across Portugal and beyond.

Their 2013 album, Antithetical, is now being released on vinyl and there’s no question about it; MALEVOLENCE, remain one of the strongest extreme metal bands to hail from their country.

If you’ve never listened to Antithetical or MALEVOLENCE, before, then this is a great introduction into the band but it’s worth bearing in mind that they have changed their style noticeably since then.

Antithetical is mean and gritty with plenty of growls to please even the most well-versed extreme metal fan. Yet underneath the growls and blast beats there’s also a lot more to uncover musically, and it’s when you start to dig deeper beneath the surface that you can truly start to appreciate the band’s musical talent.

Antithetical starts with Slithering which provides new listeners with a perfect introduction into the metal carnage before jumping headfirst into sinister tracks like Cult Of The Everlasting and Devoured Unlimited.

The album’s title track is where we see a slight departure from the band’s core sound as Antithetical offers an eclectic mix of extreme metal, progressive metal, and even gothic metal at times. In fact, if it weren’t for the grizzly growls, the ominous keyboards could trick you into thinking that you were listening to old school CRADLE OF FILTH.

Equilibrium In Extremis takes a more heavy-first approach, with blast beats galore and deep bass that you can feel in your chest. While extreme metal is the backbone of this song, there are still echoes of gothic metal that adds a layer of emotional depth to the otherwise hellish music.

As we approach the latter half of the record, it’s clear that the drums and the guitar are MALEVOLENCE’S strong point as a band.

Exocortex Momentum, a nine minute and something second epic track takes elements of extreme and progressive metal.

The start of the track incorporates fuzzy textures and gritty guitar riffs that you would expect from an extreme metal band before going on to introducing slicker guitar riffs, a first for the album.

Fundamentally, Exocortex Momentum is a progressive track in every way with distinctly different yet oddly familiar sections and use of different musical styles that somehow all work together to create one melodic thread.

Antithetical ends with Mechanisms Of Destructive Behaviour. As the name suggests, the climatic track on the album is a no holds barred extreme metal track.

Starting off with distorted guitar riffs which sound like they’re coming from the depths of hell and ending on the band’s signature blast beats, there was no finer way to close Antithetical.

Possibly the most interesting thing about reviewing past albums is being able to reflect on how a band’s style has changed with each passing release.

MALEVOLENCE’S latest offering is 2017’s Self Supremacy. They also released several singles last year including The Other Side and Keep Your Distance.

The title track of MALEVOLENCE’S 2017 release suggests that whilst Antithetical remains a great addition to their back catalogue, the band had a lot more to give musically.

Where Antithetical was inspired by classic death and black metal bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE and CRADLE OF FILTH, Self-Supremacy is more reminiscent of classic thrash acts like ANTHRAX. This is especially apparent in the vocals and the added melodic guitar riffs.

When listening to MALEVOLENCE’S most recent albums, it’s personally difficult to enjoy Antithetical, given how much their song writing style has changed and how much the production has improved.

That being said, Antithetical is a great album for those that love the extreme side of metal and aren’t so bothered by lower production quality.

Rating: 6/10

Words: Megan Taylor

Antithetical (vinyl addition) is out now.

Find MALEVOLENCE on Facebook.

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