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Many hated this album, as they thought it was very boring and weak compared to Amidst the Bloodshed, the previous album. While I can definitely see why people would think that, I would like to say that I think otherwise and that Malevolence is a good album.
Starting with the drums, I'd like to say that that's probably the best part of the album. Ryan Cox adds a lot of fast and brutal drumming to the table. It fits so well with the guitars and bass. The guitars can be quite boring at times but at other times surprisingly have some fucking cool riffs that sound so evil and help make the songs sound more creative. I just wish they had those kind of moments more in the songs. Another really fucking entertaining part of the guitars is the hard hitting brutality that the chugging possesses. The tuning is extremely low and the guitars are so powerful because of that. Now the bass, which surprisingly, you can actually fucking hear this time!! It's not much special, but it's still fucking cool to hear it for once. But as sick as it sounds, it's incredibly disrorted. The way the guitars, drums, and bass all word together in unison is very solid and hits so hard.
Now finally, the vocals. Jonathan Huber made a HUGE change from ATB to this album. He did growling, pig squealing, and more in the other album and here he sticks to more basic screams. To be honest, his vocals can get very boring and annoying at times. They lost all the power they had in the previous album and they sound weakened. Fortunately, they still sound alright at times and fucking angry as hell which is awesome, but still sound so wounded as if he forgot to warm up before recording or something. He also adds some low gutturals which actually sound fucking monstrous, except the problem is with his vocals and probably another reason why they aren't the best aspect of this album is because of the production quality on them. They're so low in volume compared to the instrumentation feel in the background at times. And another reason why they are so bland is that Huber has such limited range. There is not a single high scream on the entire album, and it's really a shame because that would make it sound more tasty.
Now the lyrics. The albums theme is about politics and the corrupt government that is the US. While I love the theme, the lyrics are very cheesy and stupid sounding. Even on my favorite track of the album, Extermination Process, I like what the lyrics are about just not how they're written. There are some well written parts, but for the most part it sounds ridiculous.
The album's production actually isn't that bad and it sounds pretty good to be honest. The only shitty sounding part of it are the vocals and the bass distortion. Some of my favorite parts are the intro which is the title track which sounds sick as hell and has a fucking awesome moment with the bass right before a breakdown. Going back to my favorite song, the guitar parts in Extermination Process are fucking awesome, and help make it sound so evil. And the long pause after the song and you hear the bass just fuck around and play a little is cool too. And one of the coolest parts is towards the end of Fractions, the final song, Huber starts screaming "Try to force your ways, and we will crush you." repeatedly over and over. It's catchy as fuck and I could just imagine a wall of death with people moshing to it so fucking hard. It's fucking perfect for a pit. The guitars once again have that fucking brutal chugging because of the low ass tuning and just want to make you slam the fuck out of someone. Also the effect as it fades away is very cool.
Overall this is a great album with some flaws but definitely are not as bad as people say. If you don't want to hear another typical deathcore album and wanna hear something different, then you should probably stay away from this. Or if you like all deathcore and have absolutely no problem with any of it, then buy it for sure.
I Declare War were one of the most decent deathcore acts you could stumble upon. After hearing whiny emo bands like Bring Me The Horizon or Suicide Silence, it was quite refreshing to find decent quality bands such as these fellows. Even though deathcore breakdowns sound terribly boring, I Declare War managed to create catchy tunes and keep you listening.
For this album, guitars were tuned to G#, much like Cannibal Corpse's ''Kill''. You might expect mind blowing sheer brutality. You might even think they might switch to a death metal approach, leaving their core-ish sound behind. Unfortunately, that's not the case.
Guitar tuning is really low, indeed, but heavy music is not just low-tuning. In fact, the guitar tone sounds very bland and after 10 minutes (maybe less) you'll just want to stop the CD, since it also sounds extremely repetitive. The bass sound becomes extremely annoying, being mixed with the highest volume possible. Plus add the fact that only the first 5 frets of the first string are being used, so you'll end up hearing the same boring bass-line over and over.
Guitar-wise, I Declare War has never been too technical or original, however this album redefines the word monotonous. Except for some half-assed guitar leads (Putrification Of The Population), the guitar parts work pretty much the same as the bass, only that you'll hear hundreds of boring, monotonous, repetitive and unoriginal dissonant chugging sections (br00tal breakdowns, in scene kids talk). It even makes me anxious to listen to their songs, since they go really slow (not like doom metal that excels at slow, heavy-as-fuck tunes, and it's more like singing you to sleep) and I want to hear brutality and crushing riffs, but again, breakdowns galore is all I can detect (Federal Death Alliance and Infinite Corruption are quite entertaining, but fall into the same stereotype).
As for the drumming, pretty simple. Double bass here, some blasting there, some fast beats too, but what you'll be hearing the most are... you guessed it. Breakdowns.
If you want decent deathcore that doesn't sing you to sleep, just go for their previous releases. Or get Whitechapel's ''This is Exile''. If you want actual brutal music, pick any Krisiun or Vomitory album instead.
So I rather like metalcore, but this, this is an insult to everything good about metal. I find very little that can be justified or at all considered good. Sludge styled riffing(the bad kind, not like Mastodon’s Remission), boring drumming, and vocals that aim to disappoint. Add on to that some terrible production and the fact that the guitars and bass play everything at the same time and the formulaic approach to every song that miserably misuses the idea of technical death metal, and you have one absolutely horrific album.
Guitars and bass on this album are just terrible. The melody is not even there, and technicality is not even part of the game when the entire album uses just over 5 notes. Every song is very difficult to discern from each other and the bass overpowers everything. No attempt is made to have intertwining guitars, which to me is such an integral part of metalcore. There is nothing even reminiscent of a solo on here, unless you perhaps consider some of those wimpy guitar leads solos.
The songwriting is also at fault on this album, or the lack thereof. Songs come and go with no real consistency throughout and the riffs change randomly, but not in the way that you would like. A riff begins to get some decent chugging rhythms and then, BAM, here comes something new and terrible. The picking is also very unclean, making it hard to differentiate notes, melody, anything really. Metalcore should not be played this way, in fact, that style is more dedicated to deathcore than metalcore. However, all other signs do unfortunately point to a combination of the two.
I have not heard another band with a sound quite like theirs, justly so. It has no melody and there is simply no way to improve upon it because to improve upon something requires substance, which I Declare War does not even have. The lyrics however, are slightly out of the box and look at society in a different way, but you’ll soon forget that. Hopefully.
Drumming is boring on Malevolence, with no drum fills worthy of being called that and an incredibly systematic approach. On every song, the double bass pedals of the drumming match the guitar parts, and this never deviates throughout this painful experience. All the while, he plods through on the same tempo on the same beat; essentially the same everything.
It is simply frustrating listening to this as a metalcore fan. The music always takes a turn for the worse for the listener, and there is no crisp sound at all. Bands like Fall of Eden play a solid metalcore, while still packing dense riffing and tight rhythms. This is the more sludge part of metalcore, but that is no excuse for the 40 minutes of audio torture showcased here.
Vocals are gut wrenchingly terrible on this album, and I have no doubt they have always been so. I seriously question the mental condition of whoever heard this guy and thought it might be good to sign them. Simply beyond me. He needs vocal lessons by the boatload just to learn how to put some emotion and pitch changes into his voice. If you have ever listened to Annotations of an Autopsy, this guy sounds even worse than that. I just don’t get it.
However, despite all these shortcomings, I Declare War manages to push all of these elements aside and produce one decent song that does not at all fit with the rest of the album. That one song is Putrification of the Population. It starts out with a solos styled riff that is backed by a different guitar rhythm part, although the drumming still remains that incredibly boring style. Vocals actually keep you interested and the song changes the riff up every now and then. Not an absolutely fantastic song, but it separates itself from the other undesirable songs as decent metalcore.
Don’t, and I mean DON’T buy this album. If you are into metalcore, then you might consider acquiring the aforementioned track, but that is it. I Declare War’s Malevolence is an example of a band trying to go outside of the box, but simply fails at achieving a sound that is quite simply listenable. They simply give good metalcore bands like Threat Signal and Winds of Plague a bad rep. Disappointment abounds.
2010 holds a lot for metalcore and death metal, especially upcoming bands trying new things. Bands try new vocals and riffs, sometimes they experiment with drum machines. I Declare War bring their new album “Malevolence” out, and it takes a whole new meaning. The screams hit harder, the guitar play lower and the drums go faster.
As a distorted guitar plays the first chugging riff, you know this album is going to be a hell of a ride. The whole album is built around humanity and the corrupt politics that set the rules. I was happy for a change in lyrics, rather than the same old “fuck Jesus Christ, he’s an asshole” bullshit. These lyrics are fresh and new. The album has a variety of sounds, from slow, heavy slam breakdowns to fast melodic riffs. The song “Fiction” incorporates these sounds well with excellent precision and timing.
The album is produced well; it has a healthy level of bass, which is not drowned out by the other instruments and the guitars sound the best on the album, they are well heard and fit in the drums perfectly. The vocals are at a right volume, without “bree bree hor hor” all the way through it, Jonathan’s talent really stands out in the songs “Conformed to Fiction” and “Putrification of the Population” and the drums are splitting and are played better than in the album “Amidst the Bloodshed”. It has an incredible variety or slams and breakdowns, fast paced songs and slow chugging songs. One let down was the lack of solos, although some talented sweeps and melodies, there were no solos.
The album is at perfect length, summing up around 39 minutes and plays out well, although no solos it is big, beefy and was made to be played loudly.