It’s been a while since we’ve seen Malevolence, the hardcore/metal crossover kings hailing from Sheffield, UK. It’s four years since their debut album Reign of Suffering hit hard, and captured the adoration of metal fans worldwide. They’ve become notorious for their groovy riffs, hard-hitting breakdowns and energising live shows, so when their second album Self Supremacy landed in our inbox, we wasted approximately 0.6 seconds before digging in and hitting that tasty download button to check out what they have to offer this time around.
The title track, Self Supremacy, is actually the introduction to the album. If there was ever any doubt that Malev would be fucking about, it’s dispelled within seconds. The band have maintained their hard-hitting integrity, stuck to their roots yet honed and refined their sound to something beyond imagination. This. Goes. In.
This album features an appearance from Andrew Neufeld of Comeback Kid on Wasted Breath and his more refined tone compliments Alex and Konan‘s grittier, edgier voices perfectly here. Another track with a featured guest artist is Wasted Breath where Kevin Muller of The Merciless Concept lends his soul-destroying vocals. Two excellently chosen guest artists who slot into the vibe and flow of this album seamlessly.
A highlight of any Malevolence set is the gang vocals being yelled back at the band from a united crowd, and you’d be forgiven for being miffed if we said that none featured on this album. Fortunately, we’d also be lying as they feature heavily throughout Body Count and this song was simply written for the live setting. Riffs-a-plenty and hooks to stir up the most lethargic of crowds.
4AM On West Street is a slow, creeping ode to a street in good old Sheffield, with a sample from The Wire closing the track. Strange, but this could work as a live intro. Just throwing that one out there, if any of the Malev creatives fancy taking that one up.
Slave to Satisfaction we heard as a single released before the album, but I think particular focus needs to be given to how fucking malicious the vocals are throughout this. You can feel the venom poured into this recording particularly potently on this track, and the resulting effect just absolutely floors the listener.
The opening few lines of True Colours almost serenade the listener. There’s a harmonising method going on here that’s enrapturing, and the slow crescendo of riffs and fills just blends perfectly. There’s not a lot Malevolence turn their hand to on this album that isn’t implemented with sheer precision.
There was always going to be pressure on the band to create something pretty fucking spectacular, especially considering Reign of Suffering got heralded a modern classic by anyone and everyone at the time. It was always going to be difficult to top that, hence why they’ve taken their time with the release of Self Supremacy. However, there’s nothing that feels disjointed or out of place here. At times, they’ve gone heavier than we’ve ever seen before. In other positions, they’ve slowed it right down, dared to go a little different and it’s paid off for them because they execute it flawlessly.