Nantes based Malkavian have been kicking around for about 10 years. With an EP and their full length debut to their name, “Annihilating The Shades” is a release that finds the band ready to make their mark. They’ve had plenty of gig time under their belt in France so we’re presented with an album that feels quite seasoned.

This release is a no holds barred affair from the outset. With blast beats galore and fret board melting moments, early tracks like “Altar Of The Damned” pack a serious anthemic punch that would demand audience participation in a live setting. The band cite influences like Entombed and Pantera and these elements can be heard but there’s also a raging fury that has shades of Warbringer. Alex Jadi’s drumming is prominent and creates a whirlwind of controlled chaos whilst still managing to bring moments of hefty groove. “Ruins” and the title track have a tautness that always threatens to explode and there’s no disappointment either as Romaric Lamare delivers a stream of screamed, throat stripping vocals.

Nicolas Bel and Mathieu Deicke provide some face melting guitar moments where clinical thrash shredding blends in with grinding death metal assaults. Moments of progressive technicality mix into crunching riffs on “The Great Overset” and there’s plenty here to engage the senses. The album’s strength lies in its’ consistency and the band’s ability to maintain a constant, high level of energy. Right through to the incisive Bay Area inspired onslaught of “KBA” and the more sludgy, melodic, mid paced closer of “Void Of A Thousand Eyes”, there is plenty of spleen venting release. The heady bass work of Florian Pesset drives grooves that occasionally lean on the heaviness of Down.

Malkavian have delivered an unrelenting blast of metal goodness. Focussed and angry sounding as all hell, it will more than likely bring many a nod of approval. This is the sound of a band flexing their muscles and standing loud and proud.

(8/10 Johnny Zed)