Malevolent Creation - _The Fine Art of Murder_
by: Paul Schwarz (
Yes, they've done it at last. I think Malevolent Creation have been building up to this triumph since _Retribution_ deafened ears and froze hearts with its cold, calculated death metal massacre six years ago. Having picked themselves up after the disasters of _Stillborn_, Malevolent Creation produced two good albums, one being last year's _In Cold Blood_, but always failed to do two things: top _Retribution_ in the all-out classic brutality stakes, and change in a way that really showed a new side to them. Though it is questionable if _The Fine Art of Murder_ quite tops _Retribution_ in brutality, it is by far their most impressive musical step forward in their history. Whereas the first four tracks, on first listen, seem not to change a thing in the band's formula, repeated listens to and consideration of the album brings you to the realization that there is so much more going on than there ever has been before. The toying with melody and harmony in songs which are primarily bludgeoners, like "Manic Demise" or "Instinct Evolved", is astounding once examined. This is not to say none of it is basic. Malevolent Creation still have all that thrash, harsh-and-hard guitar riffing; it is just used more sparingly and consequently to greater effect. The real achievements on the album are "The Fine Art of Murder", "Fracture" and "Day of Lamentation", which almost totally lack MC's trademark speed but are still both great to listen to and as brutal as ever -- the melody sees a damn good look in, too. Malevolent Creation haven't overstepped the mark, they haven't "wimped out" -- they've diversified. Sure, they're not producing anything innovative in the genre-leading stakes, but while still staying true to everything we've come to expect from them, they've gone the extra yard and successfully pulled plenty of new elements into their well-established approach. The full benefit of their current line up (Rob Barrett, Dave Culross, Phil Fasciana, Brett Hoffman, Gordon Simms) has been realized. Long live the killers; if they can keep this kind of musicianship present, they can keep up the spree far past the year 2000.
(article published 11/19/1998)
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