Malevolent Creation - _The Will to Kill_
(Nuclear Blast, 2002)
by: Jackie Smit (8.5 out of 10)
Let's face it: there aren't too many people out there who would have lost much sleep over the idea of Malevolent Creation calling it a day after 1994's _Eternal_. Following up four strong releases with an equal amount of mediocre hogwash, struggling to clutch on to the slightest semblance of an original idea, Phil Fasciana and Co nearly had us forget all about the mammoth potential and class that this band had once exuded. Seemingly determined to confound our expectations of their Nuclear Blast debut however, Malevolent Creation have returned to the fray with one of the most powerful and wholly surprising comebacks possibly ever pulled off in the death metal genre. A key factor in this turnaround is the presence of Hate Plow vocalist Kyle Simmons, replacing Brett Hoffman. He may look like a member of Bad Religion, but he can shred a larynx with the best of them, and infuses tracks like "All That Remain" and "The Will to Kill" with a bristling, almost frantic energy that dropkicks the listener into submission. Notwithstanding the instrumental effort though -- for a band fifteen years into their career, Malevolent Creation look to have discovered riffs and grooves I doubt they even thought they had in them. The bulldozer chug of "Reborn" or the Tyson-uppercut of "Divide and Conquer" not only sound more exciting and dangerous than anything MC have attempted in many a moon, but also seethe with the kind of energy and violence you'd expect from a band in their prime. Yet, impressive as it may be, _The Will to Kill_ doesn't always hit the mark quite so effectively. "Assassin Squad" is dull and cliché; the kind of throwback death metal snore I'd have expected the band to produce five years ago. Thankfully, however, this is no longer the standard, but rather the exception. And not a moment too soon.

[Matthias Noll: "Is it possible to be in the death metal business for twelve years, release your nine albums, and still have no trademarks? The new vocalist sounds a bit like Gorefest's Jan Chris, which is not a bad thing, but how can I explain what the band behind him sounds like? Well, much like Arnie's opponent in "Terminator 2", who was able to shift shape and look like the floor, the band that once released the brilliant _Retribution_ seems to have managed to cleanse their music from everything that would have made it possible to identify them as Malevolent Creation in a blind test. And unfortunately, with the exception of the killer title track, I hear nothing but faceless mediocrity on this album."]


(article published 23/6/2003)

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