Malefice – Awaken The Tides

Reading metalers Malefice have been tagged by many as being not only the UK’s leading metal band but also one of Europe’s elite since almost day one of their existence. Whether that is true is an individual assessment but they certainly are one of the hardest working, most powerful, intense, and brutal noise merchants this side of the great water. Though it is three years on from their acclaimed third release Dawn Of The Reprisal that album is stilled talked of with great enthusiasm, now though all attention will firmly be routed on the new beast from Malefice.

Awaken The Tides is brutal, it is immense, and it is a crushing metal onslaught.  Renowned for the carnage and devastating assault on the senses they delivered on previous releases and from their live shows that has led them to tours and shared stages with the likes of Sepultura, Devildriver, Anthrax and Arch Enemy, as well as hitting hard festivals such as Download and Bloodstock, the quintet show they have not loss any of their spite and aggression with Awaken The Tides. It strikes like a sledgehammer then it grips harder and tighter until submission is guaranteed.  

The title track and new video begins the invasion of sound. ‘Awaken The Tides’ is an explosive start and an impressive doorway to the album’s harsh content layered with moments of engaging dark strains.  The track is the same, striking powerfully but keeping a chorus of darkened melodies in reserve to break out and balance the song. The vocals of Dale Butler growl and grunt, laced with venom that compliments the music perfectly. Strong as it is the next track ‘Delirium’ leaves it standing at the gate, an incessant grinding groove from Tom Hynes on bass backed by the tense and rampant drums of Chris Allan-Whyte drives the attack to allow the guitars of Ben Symons and Alex Vuskans to explore and strike incisively at will. The sound is Devildriver and Hatebreed rolled into a strong flavouring but the track is all Malefice.

The following songs make their play with various degrees of success but all within a good and strong consistency. ‘The Day The Sky Fell’ combines an intriguing mix of paces and tones which seamlessly flow into each other. Butler brings a great desperation to his vocals as the track builds and builds to, and ebbs and flows around, a crescendo of potent sounds whilst his additional clean vocals shows his versatility. It has an In Flames/Stone Sour feel and makes a good variation to the high impact tracks elsewhere. Tracks like ‘Baying For Blood’ and ‘Blessed Cursed’ are hard and in the face, and again strong and satisfying though alongside each other at times there is a blending of sounds as one tracks ends and the next begins, a spark of distinctiveness missing sometimes. Closing track ‘The Haunting’ combines everything, aggression, melodies and emotive atmospheric sounds. At times it is unsettling and surprising mainly in good ways and though there are moments where it does not quite come off, but it has an intriguing experimental feel that should be pursued in the future.

Awaken The Tides best track is the excellent ‘Outnumbered Outgunned’; it attacks with its artillery of drum shells and punishing basslines whilst the guitars pick off the listener with ease. With the feel of a heavier and darker October File the song is a rampant example of creativity and quality.

Awaken The Tides bulges with ravaging riffs, haunting melodies, unforgiving guitars and songs with real depth. It should and must be given free rein of all ears that enjoy metal with quality. Malefice are back with a bang and though they have not created a new direction or startlingly new dimension to their sound they certainly have given us an album that is completely enjoyable.

Awaken The Tides is available now on Metal Blade Records.

RingMaster 20/07/2011

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The Waves Of Fury – Blood In Fury EP

There are three initial steps to be observed when listening to the Blood In Fury EP from London’s distinctive The Waves Of Fury.

Step 1:  Play and stand open mouthed.

Step 2:  (Very important part) listen again with full attention.

Step 3:  Keep listening and fall in love with music that is real rock ‘n’ roll.

There is nothing straight forward about the Blood In Fury EP, there is no instant gratification with easy hooks and clean A-Z sounds, but what it gives is real and dirty scuzzed up rock music, a glorious blend of psychotic rock ‘n’ roll and 70’s Motown sounds caked in punk filth bliss. Like a Tarantino creation from the musical parts of the Stones, Marvin Gaye, The Birthday Party, Reverend Horton Heat, and Rocket From The Crypt, The Waves Of Fury is a multi-faceted and layered groove machine.

The bands bio states that “Lead singer Carter Sharp began his musical journey in South London trotting along the generic path that most young musicians do. Far from generic, and tormented by creative complexity (and pharmaceuticals), he went on sabbatical in the American South to get back to writing songs and his roots as a musician. The history, folklore, superstition, blues, and brass of America bled into his writing….” and also “…Carter’s lyrics paint a dark and ironic caricature of American novelist William S Burroughs’ big issues: obsession, sex, love, vampires, murderous children and being buried alive by spurned valentines – getting the picture? The subject matter is twisted on surface but presented in a catchy tune in the spirit of Pulp Fiction. Their tales are told from a third person perspective of almost cartoonish scenes and characters to present familiar themes of love and loss, with a deranged gothic spin.” Facts that listening to Blood In Fury readily proves as the release wraps the listener in a seedy underground imagery that takes one deep into the heartland of the songs.  

The quartet of Sharp, guitarist Hove, Jamie Bird bass and piano, and drummer Adam Smith have created a sound that will satisfy and inspire as the EP from the opening throaty bass throbs of ‘The Killer Inside Me’ right though to the crazed end of ‘I Don’t Know What To Make Of Your Friends’ is a unique musical lesson as much as a pure listening pleasure.

Each of the five tracks on the EP are infectious though some take a little more to reach the pinnacle than others. Whereas ‘The Killer Inside Me’ has a chorus and that bass riff to lure the listener readily in the ballad ‘Pretender Soul’ asks for a little more endeavour and patience. Give it that and the result is immense. Once it connects images such as of a forlorn figure on a bridge at midnight with a backdrop of sound as discordant and desperate as his love lost soul are potent.

The best track on Blood In Fury is ‘Death Of A Vampire’. With flowing melodies recalling bands like the Monkees delivered with the dark shadows of the Cramps whilst Edwin Starr looks on the track as is the whole EP to be honest, is inspired and glorious. The brass compliments the guitars jut as their striking and at times frantic play rides hand in hand with Carter’s distinct effect coated vocals. He will not be to everyone’s taste as a vocalist but that is their loss and the band’s sound would be truly lacking without his unique style.

The Waves Of Fury definitely will not be an easy ride for many but for people who really listen to music and flourish on unique ideas and sounds that transport one directly into the song and its premise the Blood In Fury EP released 26th September, is an essential step in their musical appreciation journey.

RingMaster 20/07/2011

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