Malevolent Creation - _In Cold Blood_
(Pavement Music, 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (7 out of 10)
Have you always wanted to trepanate yourself, but lacked the guts? Well, mope no longer! New Malevolent drummer Derik Roddy will gladly ventilate your skull pan for you: just program your player to "Nocturnal Overlord" or "Seizure", and get set to hear some of the damnedest blast beats ever hammered out. And when I say "hammered", children, I mean it. Roddy may not sustain the fluid, light-speed clackety-clack of a drummer like Cryptopsy's Flo Mounier - but dammit, this guy hits the snare drum HARD. Most impressive. And true to Malevolent tradition, Phil and his guitar cohort (this time, newcomer John Paul Soars) saw out some monster riffs ("Narcotic Genocide") and nail down some ripping death breaks ("Violated"). Still, for all the excellent hammering, sawing, and drilling that goes on, a lot of the material on this 13-track, 42-minute effort seems rather artlessly constructed. Not that the band is anywhere near sloppy; it's just that their sonic architecture is noticeably unambitious. The songs have short running times but lack unpredictable breaks; hence, most tracks have a very "by the numbers" feel. Some kill based on the sheer strength of their riffs, but in other cases the brutality of the instruments fails to triumph over the conventional and repetitious structures of the songs. _Retribution_ remains this band's finest hour; I'd rate that one at least a nine.

(article published 16/10/1997)

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