Malefice

Awaken The Tides

01. Awaken The Tides
02. Delirium
03. Dead In The Water
04. Minutes
05. Baying For Blood
06. Blessed Cursed
07. The Day The Sky Fell
08. Outnumbered, Outgunned
09. Flood Of Red
10. The Haunting

[08/02/11]
[Metal Blade Records]

Malefice are one of those bands that seem to follow me everywhere. I must have seen them at least five times now as a either support band or just catching them on festival bills throughout the years, and while I don’t ever remember being bored enough to leave mid-set, I never once took the time out to listen to any of their recorded material. Awaken The Tides may be their fourth record (second with Metal Blade) but it’s my first proper entrance into their sound and after a few listens, two main points really stuck out to me:

    1. Malefice’s sound is essentially an amalgamation of the majority of the most popular bands of the last decade. Take the hardcore shouts and beatdowns of Hatebreed and place it alongside the thrash grooves of Machine Head and the melodic leads and solos of Arch Enemy. Essentially this metalcore with 50% metal to 50% core and comes across much like the modern logical conclusion of the Pantera sound; catchy, groovy and yet still heavy. It’s a clever mix that obviously appeals to a large group of people but, in the fast paced metal world, the wave of metalcore success is dead and buried so fair play to them for not pandering to trends.
    2. Malefice would make a great ‘gateway’ band; one of those bands that people hold dear because it showed them that metal is more than just the classics, and some of the most interesting bands are just below the radar. There’s just enough of each influence to give listeners a good grounding and understanding of a wide range of sounds, whilst still making a fairly cohesive record.

However, this record is not for me. I was never a huge fan of metalcore, so I can only assume every time I saw them live they kept to their heaviest material. “Delirium” and “Baying For Blood” are monolithic monsters that relentlessly swing and crash through a mass of breakdowns and breakneck riffing — which is far more interesting than say the more moody pieces found in “The Day The Sky Fell” and “Minutes“. I guess that this is maybe where my problem with a lot metalcore bands lies — it’s their insistence on showing how ‘diverse’ they can be by compromising an already good sound.

Even though this all comes across as the meat-headed rant of someone who believes ‘only extreme is good’, I honestly feel Awaken The Tides would have been more interesting if they had gone full throttle with it because Malefice do that very well. Effectively, Awaken The Tides is a record I can appreciate but don’t enjoy. It lies a little too close to the overdone and rehashed metalcore sound that plagued the last decade, but at the same time is littered with moments that break away from the mould and sound amazing. If the future of British metal is in the hands of Malefice, which is quite plausible, then it’s safe and I’m happy with it.

Malefice – Awaken The Tides gets:

2.5/5

– DL

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