ALBUM REVIEW: Malevolence – Self Supremacy

Malevolence have only been around for a few years, yet have already made a massive impact on the metal/hardcore scene. Their 2013 release Reign Of Suffering saw them quickly become favourites and gave them the opportunity to play shows all around the world.
Three and a half years on, it’s less than a week till the release of their new album Self Supremacy. With it being announced back in March, fans all over the world have been counting down till May 19th to experience what the band have been cooking up.
Jumping straight into the album with the title track, ‘Self Supremacy’ it feels like it’s been ripped straight from their debut. The familiar tone of guitar and Malevolence’s unique drumming welcomes the fans back into the new album slowly, as well as heavily implementing Konan’s vocals which make more than an appearance in the release. This track paired with the equally batshit crazy ‘Trial By Fire’ creates an opening to an album that will go down as one of the heaviest in history.
After being taken on their first big European tour back in 2013 by Comeback Kid, Malevolence decided it would only be fair to ask Andrew to feature on ‘Severed Ties’. In an interview, drummer Charlie Thorpe said “We knew he’d come through with something sick, but he exceeded all expectations” and the combination of Andrew, Alex and Konan on one song is nothing short of an ingenious idea. The other track with a guest feature comes in the form of the second single ‘Wasted Breath’. This time featuring Kevin of The Merciless Concept – it seems a weird pairing but mixed with the melt-your-face off beatdown, it creates one of the heaviest songs on the album.

On every album there’s always a song that will be a hit live, and Malevolence have created that experience with “Body Count”. A delicate concoction of riffs, beatdowns and gang vocals will have the quietest of crowds getting rowdy. Breaking up the brutality is a little number called4AM on West Street’. A pure instrumental interlude with a sinister twist is sure to be the intro when the band tour the album later this month, finishing with a clip from the TV show The Wire it brings us into the next track. “Slave to Satisfaction” was the first single released and is easily one of the best tracks on the album. Konan is heavily involved and the vocals between the pair are malicious which pays off extremely well, and the Crowbar influences are very prominent throughout the track. The sludge-esque breakdown is one of the most rememberable pieces of the song, if not the whole album and will be stupidly heavy when played live.
The second half of the album is when Malevolence really come into full force, whether it’s the hard as fuck beatdown and ‘MLVLTD’ chant at the end of “Spineless” or the blast beat and punchy riffs filled “Outnumbered”. One song that really stood out in their previous release “Reign Of Suffering” was “Turn To Stone” due to the musical excellence that flowed throughout the 8 minutes and if you were expecting another track just like that, you won’t be disappointed – this time coming in the form of “True Colours”. Predominately Konan, it showcases everything that Malevolence are made of, and with the spine chilling riffs and stupendous drums by Thorpe complementing each other outstandingly it’s a standout across the bands discography, let alone this album.
Genre defining is not a term to be thrown around lightly, but this album is a true representation of what hardcore and metal can be when mixed together perfectly. They’ve matured immensely and the work put into this is evidently second to fucking none. Do not even try and compare “Reign of Suffering” and “Self Supremacy” as they’re both modern classics and with both albums to play with, Malevolence will put on a hell of a show when they tour in a couple of weeks. This album has been massively hyped in the underground scene and it easily exceeds any expectations you may have.

Malevolence embark on a three week long tour starting in a couple of weeks time bringing along No Zodiac and Revulsion to join the party. Pre-orders for the album can be found over on BDHW Records.

LIVE : Less Than Jake – 02 Academy Sheffield – 04.10.16

The general public strolling down Arundel Gate this evening look on as a swarm of old and young alike queue to get into Sheffield’s 02 Academy. Its quite the turnout for the Ska-Punk legends, but at Ten English pounds for a line up as varied and brimming with dancability as this, you’d be a fool to be a rock fan in Sheffield tonight and not be in attendance.

Mariachi El Bronx, for those unaware, is the alter ego of LA punk n’ rollers The Bronx. An eight-piece Mariachi band, they are the most fun anyone could have at a rock show, without actually watching a rock band. Frontman Matt Caughthran embraces his role as band leader with a sly wink, encouraging the audience to dance along to would- be-classics Revolution Girls and 48 Roses with all the charm of a genuine Mexican troubadour. As odd as Mariachi El Bronx seem at first glance on any bill, they certainly capture the hearts of the crowd here, and with gloriously celebratory numbers like High Tide, it’s no surprise at all. [8/10]

Londoner’s The Skints are a fine choice for tonight’s show, balancing out the cultural tones on offer with their own brand of soulful reggae. Live, the band lock into a solid groove that the audience finds hard to resist. Heads nod and feet tap to the addictive hooks of Mindless, which showcase the vocal duo of drummer Jamie Kyriakides and multi instrumentalist Marcia Richards. Guitarist Joshua Rudge commands the stage with cocky energy, adding grime overtones to the funky likes of Rat-a-tat. With the Bob Marley vibes of Forest For The Trees being a mellow highlight, The Skints are a true UK treasure and continue to bring it live. [8/10]

Tonight’s main event, all the way from Gainesville, Florida are veteran Ska-Punkers Less Than Jake and judging by the sea of early 00’s band tees on display, they are the main attraction. They hit the stage and launch into a riotous Last One Out Of Liberty City. The crowd is already surging back and forth before the two-tone ska of Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts rockets past in less than two minutes. If you’ve ever attended a Less Than Jake show, you will of course be familiar with their particular brand of sophomoric humor, and tonight is no different, vocalists Chris DeMakes and Roger Lima hurling insults at each other much to the audiences delight. With an ever-growing back catalog to draw on, the band plow through oldies and newies alike, the brass section of Buddy Schaub and J.R showcasing their knack for massive hooks on the frantic Scott Farcas Takes It On The Chin and newer number Good Enough.

Its hard deny the infectious atmosphere of a Less Than Jake show and the Steel City crowd are no exception. They embrace every ounce of  the band’s goofball antics, from toilet-roll launching guns to inviting a topless, middle-aged gentleman named ‘John’ onstage for Anthem classic The Ghost Of Me & You. Not ones to disappoint their fans, the band finish up with a manic version of All My Best Friends Are Metalheads, which judging by the audience participation, will lead to some sore throats in the morning. It seems these days, many bands are cashing in revivals and one-off comebacks. Less Than Jake need not worry about such things however, as long as they keep putting on shows as entertaining as tonight’s. [9/10]

Live Review : Trash Boat, Corporation Sheffield, 25.09.16

Its a cool autumn eve and Sheffield’s Corporation has a sell out show on its hands tonight. It’s unsurprising though, as the level of talent on offer tonight is second to none, with up and coming acts playing alongside some of the more well known bands in the UK pop punk landscape.

West Yorkshire is currently home to a vibrant punk rock scene, demonstrated admirably by Leeds crew These Minds. They roar through a set of exuberant tracks, clearly taking props from the current crop of US bands and surprisingly, on faster numbers, coming across like an updated version of melodic hardcore veterans The Movielife. The promising set ends with a couple of stage dives for good measure, from a crowd who are lapping up the electric atmosphere this eve. [8]

The Gospel Youth know how to show the crowd a good time. The Brighton lads duck and dive around the stage like lightning, coming across like an amped-up cross betwreen Deaf Havana and Fireworks. Even more impressive are the vocals of frontman Sam Little, who makes anthems such as the punchy Hurricane sound like they could fill stadiums. They certainly won the audience over here with canyon-sized hooks and a magnetic energy that puts them miles ahead of the pack in terms of their live game. [9]

Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the stage, one of, if not the reigning champions of British pop punk. It’s Trash Boat time and the boys kick things off with a spirited Tring Quarry, provoking the crowd into a frenzy early on. The audience eat it up, making the singalong-friendly likes of Perspective and even slow-builders like Brave Face so much more fun to witness live. The band bring the intensity on the Gallowslike hardcore of Pangea, complete with squalling lead guitars, all the while showcasing huge hooks with a rousing rendition of Second Wind.  Trash Boat, not unlike their DIY-punk cousins Gnarwolves, are the kings of understated stage presence, frontman Tobi Duncan leaping around the stage one minute and coming across as modest and almost shy the next. No modesty is shown by those in attendance tonight though, as the band rip through The Guise of a Mother with the crowd screaming the chorus right back at the band word perfect.

For a small room, the venue captures the band’s energy to awesome effect, even pacier tracks like Eleven coming across joyously audible. The band close proceedings with an exhilarating Strangers, The Gospel Youth’s Sam playing the role of Dan “Soupy” Campbell, making for a thrilling end to the band’s set. Surely more Warped Tour success beckons for the Saint Albans mob, but for tonight, Trash Boat ripped Corporation’s small room a new one. [9]