Malevolent Creation - _Doomsday X_
(Nuclear Blast, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (
Few ideas aired in this weird, wonderful scene of ours could seem quite as solid as "putting the old band back together again" -- throwing the original members back into a recording studio and sitting back as they recreate their vintage magic. Right? Wrong. The truth is that times change, people change. Heck, Anthrax unceremoniously kicked a perfectly capable John Bush to the curb to make room for poodle-haired Joey Belladonna, and they never managed to record a single song together. Even the founders of this genre -- the mighty Black Sabbath -- have yet to do anything substantial in a reformed Iommi / Geezer / Osbourne / Ward guise.So should this make you any less excited about the return of Dave Culross and Brett Hoffman to Malevolent Creation? Probably not. The first two tracks on their eleventh full-length will do that quite nicely. You see, for all the promise built up by some admittedly blistering live performances delivered by this line-up over the summer, _Doomsday X_ finds the band sticking to an MO that has been their Achilles' heel since Moses wore short pants -- or, to drop the analogising, since the release of _Retribution_ a decade and a half ago. For every moment of sheer, unadulterated, career-topping genius, Malevolent Creation can't seem to thoroughly come to grips with the concept of consistency.Unlike its predecessor, _Doomsday X_'s folly is distinctly more random, and it doesn't help that "Cauterized" and "Culture of Doubt" start us off and leave us gagging on their complicity; characterless drivel performed by exceptional musicians. It's not until "Deliver My Enemy" that we see what this renewed alliance is truly capable of -- and make no mistake, the results are glorious. The dual guitars of Jon Rubin and Phil Fasciana tear it up with all the conviction of players so passionate they'd seek to carve out their mark with chainsaws. Brett Hoffman's voice could go head-to-head with the turbofan engine of an F-14 Tomcat, with Dave Culross providing the heavy artillery. Let it bleed into the next track however, and we're back to square one.It's a frustrating thing to endure, but to Malevolent's credit, they do make us sit at attention more often than they lull us to sleep. With so many years under their collective belt and such a musical pedigree, it would be astonishing if they didn't. Personally, I'm optimistic. "Focus on the good things", as a wise man once said; and if that be applicable here, then hopefully this quintet will follow suit with their next album. It will be a triumph richly deserved.
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