As metallically diverse as Malevolence often prove to be, this is a band that has sensibly deduced that there is nothing quite like balls-out, ferocious thrash metal. The Sheffield-based crew are by no means straightforward, or remotely retro-minded, though it is plainly and audibly thrash that provides these songs with their motivational essence, the impact immediate and wildly exhilarating: from the opening whip-sharp tempos of ‘In The Face Of Death’ to the blazing velocity of closing track ‘Wraith’, their debut LP Reign Of Suffering smoulders with a brake-lines-cut intensity.
But this is no straight-ahead thrash metal blowout: there is a gritty, stripped-down simplicity to the overall sound of songs like ‘Serpents Chokehold’ that feels just as closely related to the turbo-blues riff worship of the NOLA scene than to anything from the Big Four. Elsewhere, ‘Condemned To Misery’ slams with the sort of goo-dripping grotesquery of prime Devourment or Dying Fetus, but with the technical precision of peak form Testament and rockin’ flair of Dimebag’s southern-fried swing, and ‘Eternal Torment’ is quite simply one of the hardest tunes this country has ever produced (think Lamb Of God taking on a particularly enraged Megadeth, tagging in Hatebreed for a few bouts here and there), all overseen by vocalist Alex Taylor’s vein-popping bark.
In and out in an ideally succinct thirty five minutes, Reign Of Suffering is loaded with an absolute fuck-ton of really cool shit and begs for repeat listens. A potent and memorable example of how UK metal is, even looking back to 2013, enjoying a prolonged period of rude health, this record will keep a smile plastered across your face whilst Malevolence realise their sincerest desire to smash your teeth in. As debuts go, there are few that can compete with Reign Of Suffering in making you want to dive fists first into a spinning crowd of sweaty lunatics, and it absolutely contains some of the greatest metal anthems of the last ten years.