At some point over the last couple of years, something happened to the musical bulldozer that is Sheffield band Malevolence, and, after a few years as a gem in the UK metal underground, things really started to gather serious momentum. Touring in support of their crushing 2017 disc Self Supremacy, things started to shift at a noticeable pace with 2021 seeing the group perform attention-grabbing sets at both Bloodstock Festival and Download Festival Pilot.
This momentum shows no signs of slowing down with the release of this, their bruising new album, Malicious Intent, which slams into life with the pit-mauling, neck-snapping title track. A massive statement of intent from the band, it’s only a taster of what is to come as the album hurtles into the ferocious “Life Sentence” where their mix of hardcore breakdowns, brutal metal riffing and throat-destroying vocals really kicks into life.
From start to finish, Malicious Intent is an absolutely huge-sounding record and while the metallic hardcore isn’t anything you won’t have already heard by the likes of Hatebreed or their ilk, these Sheffield boys have plenty more to offer. Take guitarist Konan Hall’s clean, Crowbar-esque wails which marry up with slower, chuggier sections on tracks like the quite breathtaking “On Broken Glass” or tracks like “Higher Place” where the group takes their sound down a darker, moodier route.
Then there are tracks like “Above All Else” where the band combines the moodier approach with the more familiar gut-punching style to create something quite magnificent. Teaming up with Kublai Khan TX vocalist Matt Honeycutt, the song bubbles away for the first minute or so before exploding into a glorious display of mosh-friendly metal and pit-inciting breakdowns. As for straight-up face-smashers, Malevolence are masters of those too. “Life Sentence” set the precedent for that early on but they step it up a couple of gears for the snarling “Karma” and the skull battering “Do Or Die.”
The final piece of the jigsaw comes by way of vocalist Alex Taylor who sounds like he is pouring every ounce of rage and frustration into his words. It’s a mammoth display from the frontman who teams up with Trivium vocalist Matthew K. Heafy for the stunning “Salvation” – a flawless blend of melodic metal and ball-crushing metallic hardcore.
A record with absolutely no weak points, Malicious Intent sees the Sheffield crew in unstoppable form so much so that, if 2021 was the year Malevolence made their presence felt across the metal and hardcore scene, 2022 should see the Sheffield heavyweights take over the entire damn scene.
Malicious Intent Track Listing:
1. Malicious Intent
2. Life Sentence
3. On Broken Glass
4. Still Waters Run Deep
5. Higher Place
7. Above All Else ft. Matt Honeycutt
8. Do Or Die
9. Salvation ft. Matthew K.Heafy
Run Time: 37:51
Release Date: May 20, 2022
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records