I’m sure all reading this review have at some point in their lives faced bullying, opposition and overall ridicule for their taste in music, the way they present themselves and extra-curricular hobbies, I know I have. Yet sometimes you take a step back and see the over the top pseudo-occultism, the brandishing of skulls upon shirts, the throwing of the ‘horns’ etc and you question are these generic elements cringe-worthy? To answer this I would attest that as I grow older I loathe the mainstream Metal scene more, but equally I find myself with a more open approach to my youthful nostalgia through revisiting less ‘trve’ albums, so what is the balance and how can it be maintained?
Doing themselves no favours in the area of cringe are Malevolent Creation but we will come to that shortly. You may well have heard the name, they carved a pretty sizeable wedge into the Death Metal underground during the late 80s-early 90s with powerhouse albums such as The Ten Commandments and Retribution, both of which are highly regarded Death Metal classics. With a strong Metal til death attitude Malevolent Creation have soldiered on through the years with a generally well respected back catalogue that has failed to falter. Now we come to 2019 and the cringe titled The 13th Beast (you can just see that as a shameful back print right?) couple that with the album artwork and you have a 14 year old Metalheads wet dream. None the less we are not here to bash the artwork or album title we are here to review the music within so let’s get started.
Like a striking battalion of infested viscera Malevolent Creation storm from the gates, their zombie-like infection trundling towards civilization laying waste to all who oppose these poster boys of Death Metal. If you’re already a fan of the band or the genre for that matter then you will be accustom to these reasonably generic notes of pummelling drums, frantic Thrash driven guitars and guttural old school vocals. And it is to these vocals which I draw your attention most, since the sad passing of Brett Hoffmann the band have been without an integral member but with the burning desire to never show weakness the band have sprung back with Lee Wollenschlaeger now taking to the vocal and guitar duties.
His position is not one to be taken lightly and that said he offers a fitting rendition of the bands classic old school, teetering on Brutal Death Metal style becoming a respectable substitute for the late Death Metal legend that is Brett Hoffmann. So with all this in mind we have the makings for a balls to the wall, frantic Death Metal blaster right? Unfortunately not the album does very little in the areas of memorability and inspiration fading away into support band level Death Metal that whilst not impure or tasteless is a little disappointing. Couple this with a lengthy track like Born Of Pain and this makes for an ironically agonisingly drab listen. Genuinely it is a task in itself to pick out a couple of stand out tracks, perhaps only Decimated springs to mind but as a whole the album seems to blend into a bubbling heap of extremity devoid of structure.
As a reviewer it is often very painful to deliver such grave news, the crumbling empire of a legendary band. Yet look at the bright side, all bands have periods of downtime, moments where their light merely flitters and often these eras are looked back upon in years to come with intrigue and ploughed through with a finer comb so as to salvage the more redeemable moments. With redeeming features in mind I would wish to commend the band on still delivering a solid sound, as far as it goes this album is extremely inoffensive and offers up a great representation of a general Death Metal ethos. It is in the songwriting that this album is lacking, a limp shell of what once was. To finish on a brighter note I will say that I actually (as shameful as it is) rather enjoy the corny artwork of this album, if nothing else I can say that this release as a whole fills me with a certain nostalgia.
(5/10 George Caley)