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Malevolent Creation's sophomore album is a great improvement over their debut, "The Ten Commandments," and is easily my favorite Malevolent Creation album.
Since their debut, the production quality has improved and "Retribution" sounds much cleaner than its predecessor. The songwritting has also improved on "Retribution," and it doesn't have the same monotonic qualities as "The Ten Commandments" did. The guitar riffs are much more memorable than they previously were, and the guitars also have much more of a variety to them. The album features slow to mid paced songs like "Coronation of our Domain," and "No Flesh Shall be Spared," to faster songs like the opening track, "Systematic Execution," and "Monster."
The drums are good, and sound better than they did on "The Ten Commandments," but in terms of skill are nothing special. I still do have a problem with Brett Hoffman's vocals though. I don't think he's a bad vocalist, and I love the energy he puts into his vocals that adds to their intensity. My problem is how is voice actually sounds. He still sounds hoarse and dry, like he's already done the vocals once and is worn out from doing them.
Other than that, I greatly enjoyed "Retribution," and it's one of my favorite old school death metal albums to listen to.
Through their 1991 debut The Ten Commandments, Malevolent Creation managed to define an aesthetic, urban brutality that was virtually unknown to the other Florida death metal acts. This was honestly their biggest contribution to that scene, because otherwise the music felt like a pastiche of ideas Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse and Deicide had already explored. Retribution partially serves to expand the band's lyrics beyond the streets of unrest, but the central focus is still on cold blooded murder ("Iced", "Slaughter of Innocence" and forth) upon the pavement of conflict. In all, though, this album is really just more of the same that we experienced on the debut. More tightly wound, perhaps. More brutal, but less cutting and explosive. A good sophomore, but not enough to evoke the same level of worship among the audience as some of their statesmen.
"Eve of the Apocalypse" opens with the Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer theme before bursting into its level headed, deeply thrashing gutter of chug, tailor made for intense moshing below the forceful vernacular of Brett Hoffman. "Systematic Execution" uses more double bass and a rapid, blasting break to vary the dynamics, and then "Slaughter of Innocence", which is possibly my favorite song on the album, returns to some grisly, bouncing rhythms that are almost pure, punishing thrash metal with intensified drums. Very similar to what Deicide were doing with Legion, only more muscular. The remainder of the album continues along with the same, brick faced mentality, seeking to bludgeon the listener so hard that he fails to notice that there is no nuance or subtlety to be had within miles of its creation. "Monster" has a little more momentum than most of the songs, and "Iced" is one of the best at the construction of flailing, bludgeoning grooves fit for kicking in asses, but none are any more compelling than what you'd find on their debut.
Thus, Retribution becomes another of those albums which is all brute force and little dynamic, memorable insinuation. Great for when you just want to turn off the signals from your brain to your limbs and circle pit with the genre jocks, but not ultimately that interesting when faced with any other situation. The leads are decent, and the lyrics and music display a reasonable level of confidence and effort, but it seems to be another case where a band has all the tools for survival (great cover art, good label, strong musicians) but wallows in the exhaust of its own extremity. So thrilled at the spectacle of mock violence that would inevitably erupt at its live exhibitions that it ignores the songwriting element, and there is very little distinction among the constituent tracks. No personality of note other than serving as a kid brother to The Ten Commandments, and this is a trait that will plague Malevolent Creation through much of their considerable amount of output, an incessant parade of punishment that never penetrates the A-list. Stock muggings without lasting repercussions.
Back in 1991, Malevolent Creation released 'The Ten Commandments' and caught the underground metal scene by surprise, they came right out of no where, and yes that album was awesome, but in 1992, they topped it in my opinion with the sophomore release which is this album.
Now sometimes bands follow up the debut, and it fails to be better or as good as the debut, that is not the situation here, Malevolent Creation took what was best from 'The Ten Commandments' and made it better, and that is obvious right off from the first track 'Eve of the Apocalypse' now this song starts with a rather long keyboard intro, but it's awesome, because it sounds dark, and then the headbanging begins with a furious death/thrash assault of killer riffs, and Brett 'The Voice' Hoffman's vocals, this guys vocals are just so awesome, and his vocals are why I would call this album death/thrash, he has the growl, but it's more dry, kind of raspy like a thrash vocalist, 'Systematic Execution' is next, this song is made of complete awesome, fast shredding riffs about, pounding drums, violent lyrics, and quite a few nice tempo changes, especially at the break, heavy as fuck guitars, and Brett's awesome vocals 'Slaughter of Innocence' does just what the song title suggests, IT SLAUGHTERS, opening with some excellent thrashy riffs, and wicked double bass, and then the breakdown in this song...oh the breakdown, just fucking awesome as it slows right down, and you hear Brett saying 'DIE MOTHER FUCKER!' over the top of the wicked riffs, and some nice bass work you can hear during the beginning of the break, awesomeness.
'Coronation of our Domain' slows things down to a bludgeoning stomping pace, and is nothing short of heavy as fuck, especially during the chorus, those riffs that just drag...now don't think I mean drag on, I mean they drag as in the way it's done, it's just impossible to NOT headbang to, also, James Murphy of Death and Obituary fame does the solo on this song, and we all know James can shred like a mother fucker, and he sure does here, next is 'No Flesh Shall Be Spared' this song mostly mid-paced through out, but the riffs are catchy as hell, as well as the verses and the chorus, it does speed up after the solo, this song also has some awesome blast beats, but not over done, he stills manages to keep it interesting with excellent fills and grooves, the breakdown in the middle of this song is heavy as all hell as well, especially once the solo hits, as it shreds like no other.
I'll skip down to the closing track 'Iced' yes, this song is about gangsters, about whacking someone, which we all know means to kill, and that's what this song does, IT KILLS, it's fast, thrashy, violent, just the way a gangster would want it, John Gotti would not be disappointed, and during the break, you hear Brett say 'you worthless piece of shit!' NICE! at the end Brett talks like an old school gangster saying 'I've done it always, as far as you've known or heard, there isn't to many things I haven't tried, no matter how it was done, I've known guys that went to sleep before and never woke up again, I mean ya know' followed by a sadistic laugh, HOW COOL IS THAT?!
If you've heard Malevolent Creation's debut 'The Ten Commandments' and loved it as I did, than you need to get this album, as I feel it's even better, and that's no easy task, or if you're looking to get into MC, I would recommend this album over all the others.
Ah, I remember this album well. Before I experienced this sophomore release by Florida death metal outfit Malevolent Creation, I didn't have a high opinion of death metal. My original first experience with the genre was through Cannibal Corpse, a band I didn't take much of a liking to. I couldn't really get into it, with the disgusting "throwing up my internal organs" vocal style and the B-grade slasher movie lyrics. Then came "Retribution." Initially going in with reserved expectations, this album completely changed my mind about death metal and along with "IVth Crusade," "Transcend the Rubicon," and "Pierced from Within" remains one of my favorite death metal albums of all time.
If you were to hear this band's debut in "The Ten Commandments" then experience this one, there would be little comparison. That's saying alot, considering that the previous album was quite good, but lacking considerable maturity in the songwriting. "Retribution" makes up for all that, and shows a band who has progressed quite a bit despite the fact that these two albums are only a year apart. The band has gotten more technical, more mature, and definitely more focused on their mission as a death metal band. The songs and the album as a whole is simply stellar, the kind of listening experience you don't really get anymore with the recent waves of technically impressive but emotionally lifeless tech death and deathcore bands.
The first thing to notice is the sound quality. Its simply excellent, especially for this style of metal and the era in which it was produced. The production allows the instrumentation to show itself without one certain piece of the band taking center stage. Brett Hoffman's vocals are scathing yet intelligent, never the bowel movement soundtrack that the gore bands get themselves into. His lyrics usually condemn society and corruption, a welcome change from the usual gore lyrics of intestines flying across the room and strangling you.
While there isn't a single song here that qualifies as a dud, there are a few stand-outs. "Slaughter of Innocence" comes to mind with Hoffman's ever vicious vocal attacks and the great line "die motherfucker!!!" but also allows the bass to shine here, unusual for death metal in general. That shows up again in "No Flesh Shall Be Spared," where the bass is given more room and allowed to shine. Both "Monster" and "Mindlock" are powerhouse tracks, the former is a favorite of mine allowing then drummer Alex Marquez to show off his talents and he brings a new element to the band that was somewhat missing on the debut. However, none of these nine songs are skippable which makes this a great album to hear all the way through. Its half hour duration ensures that album never gets boring or tiresome, and ends just as powerfully with "Iced" as it began with the killer "Eve of the Apocalypse."
Rest assured, if you enjoyed the pioneering sounds of the Florida death metal scene, then "Retribution" is an album not to be missed. It stands alongside more well known releases such as "Human," "Symbolic," "Altars of Madness," and "Screams of Anguish" as some of the better albums from the Florida scene of the time. Its certainly an incredible listen, even to this day, especially amongst the sea of skilled yet obviously lacking death metal outfits out there today. From the band's brutal yet well crafted assaults to the superb artwork by Dan Seagrave, this is one album no death metal fan should be without and is the best album Malevolent Creation ever created.
The mood is set immediately by an ominous warlike drum and a morbid low sound from a synthesizer. The mood is soon ruined by a cheap Casio-sounding keyboard playing a few notes followed by what could be a Playskool xylophone, but all is forgiven once the intro ends and the barrage of sick riffs and pummeling double bass drums erupts and soars towards you like the monster on the album’s cover. Yeah, the thing reminds me of one of Godzilla’s opponents, which suits the massive maelstrom of Retribution.
This is some excellent old-school death metal, with busy instrumentation, a shitload of riffs, and the kind of unbridled attitude I rarely find in much of today’s newer death metal bands. I seriously fucking miss those early 90’s days. Of course, those days were also a bit wanting in production values, and this short but poignant opus was no exception. The guitars, as raging as they are, come across as a bit muddy and dampened, but the riffs are not muffled in the process nor do the notes blend in with each other, thus a decent level of brutality is maintained. Solos occasionally rear their heads like moray eels, slithering out with a bite before quickly receding back to their deep caverns. The bass is for the most part buried in the guitar mix, which affects the “heaviness” factor a bit, but there is a couple of spots where suddenly the bass plays alone, as if reminding listeners that there’s a guy called Jason Blachowicz in the band. The drums are reasonably clear, especially the bass drums, which balances things out to give the album a menacing and frantic air of barely controlled chaos. I actually find the album gains a bit of atmosphere by not being so polished and shiny, besides desiring maybe a little more low end bass, I can’t really fault the production on a personal preference level.
Then there’s Brett. Brett the MOTHERFUCKING VOICE. What I seriously dig about this dude here is the sheer level of passion he throws into these lyrics. He’s not coming across like some mythological monster, but a goddamn man; a man enraged to the point of complete unstoppable insanity. This is some clever lunacy he’s got going though, since the rhythms of his hate fueled roars are precise and work with the musical instruments to make each song a cohesive whole rather than just random blurting over instrument tracks. This adds a quality that sets Retribution (and their previous release) apart from most other releases at the time, in that his voice hovers within that fine line between death vocals and angry thrash. Sometimes leaning in either direction, and always making things interesting. It also helps that the lyrics themselves are a perfect compliment to these vocals, combining gruesome themes with some catchy lines and crowd-pleasing moments such as “DIE MOTHERFUCKER” from Slaughter Of Innocence and “YOU WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT!” from Iced. This is not to say the prose is generally primitive blood and guts ranting. In fact, they are actually well written and particularly clever at times, such as those concerning No Flesh Shall Be Spared, which illustrates our obsession with television violence to its logical extremes.
I pretty much enjoy every track minus the intro (although the short outré is easily a keeper), but if I were to pick a favorite, I, along with many other fans of this album apparently, would consider Slaughter Of Innocence, with its “Murder! Murder! Murder! Murder!” assault, as a scorcher and probably my favorite Malevolent Creation tune in general. The song forces you to raise one hand into the air in a clenched fist while the other hand grabs your own scrotal sack to feel how bigger your balls have instantaneously grown just by listening to this beast. Some of the other songs have a bit of groove lurking within them such as Mindlock, but the production and sudden bursts into blastbeats insures that nothing gets remotely funky. Coronation Of Our Domain is another interesting track, a sluggish shambling monster yet no less vicious than some of the more ripping tracks. The album itself is under 40 minutes, which I think was a good idea. As a result, the album doesn’t tire me out before it finishes, as some longer death metal albums that continually bludgeon with little variation nonstop gets tiresome. The vocalist being easily understood also ranks this a cut above much of 1992’s other death metal offerings.
Retribution. An album whose title and album cover together seems to make no sense. But the cover illustration itself is baddass. Retribution is a pretty baddass word as well. The music is fucking baddass. So yeah, there is a word that ties all this together. So be that word, and get this thing.
My personal tastes about music include this band just partially. You know, sometimes there are bands that to someone are great and to you not so much. I’m not saying that this is a bad band, absolutely, but simply it’s not inside my circle of personal preferences. It’s like the case for Cannibal Corpse for me; they never entered in my daily, weekly or monthly listening breaks. By the way, I prefer more recent albums by Malevolent Creation, but I must admit that they improved with the second album. The first one was nice but still a bit immature and too yawn in some parts as far as I’m concerned.
This time, the production is clearer and closer to the more recent albums if we want. The guitars are always powerful but since the beginning we can hear that the band is really pissed off and this through more mature compositions. The production exalts a lot the vocals that even this time are a way between the brutal thrash and the death metal. They are always well balanced and not too extreme at all, realizing a good compromise for both the thrash metal metalheads and the ones who listen to more death metal. The drums are quite clear and powerful but also here we can hear the new band’s will, the one to change and make less death metal sounds to embrace a cleaner production.
By the way, everything is perfectly audible and the tempo changes are very well done. “Eve The Apocalypse” already shows sudden breaks to the up tempo parts, where the band is good at less impulsive and more doom passages that, anyway, don’t forget about countless riffs and morbid atmospheres. With “Systematic Execution” we increase the speed and the first blast beats come in a continue devastation of up tempo parts. The following “Slaughter of Innocence” is the fitting example if how much this band has grown up in songwriting. The riffs are so fast and numerous and they are perfectly stuck in the continued tempo changes and stop and go series.
The bass is played with a pick and you can hear it because it’s so metallic and can be heard very well even during the fast parts. The tremolo picking of the guitars on single chords is truly violent and this is taken directly from the classic death metal. “Coronation of Our Domain” develops its fury through mid-paced parts and inhuman vocal parts. The refrain is the catchiest of this album. “No Flesh Shall Be Spared” is the lowest point of this effort because it’s quite monotonous and overlong during the mid-paced parts. The furious, out of the blue, blast beats parts are better but a bit sporadic. “The Coldest Survive” is more dynamic and fast; even the guitars solos are better because sometimes they are not just filled with anger, but they also give a support for a dark melody.
“Monster” and “Mindlock” are two very good examples of brutal approach to death metal. In these two songs the tempo increases a lot and the blast beats are more present, along with up tempo sections and heavier guitars parts. The intensity reaches remarkable levels and this time the band seems even more compact. The last “Iced” is the classic fast song to finish the album and features more or less every characteristic it should have to shake the brain: furious blast beats (this time more bound to the death/grind), ultra heavy mid-paced sections and more screamed vocal parts. Overall, this album is way better that the debut one but there’s still something of this band that doesn’t drive me crazy. I don’t know, maybe it’s all about the personal tastes…
This is the follow up to 1990`s amazing The ten comandments. The band hasn`t really changed, this is really just more of the same, but that is definitly not a bad thing! The only real diffrence is the production, which is alot better.
The album starts of with the spooky intro of Eve of the apocalypse. After around a minute the song starts and annihilates everything in its path! This song pretty much sets the standard for the whole album.
The guitar duo Phil Fasciana and Rob Barret ( also known from Cannibal Corpse) write really brutal riffs! And this was back in 92, back then there wasn`t that many guide lines to follow, so Rob and Phil were truly ahead of their time. There is, howeever, a slight influence of thrash to be found here. There`s also a few solos to be found, but there isn`t really anything remarkable to them, as this is pretty fast death metal which usally dosn`t have room for solos ( with the exception of Nile).
This is probably Malevolent`s best album ever, or at least their best album with Brett as a frontman. If you want to get into death metal, this is the record to buy!
Standout tracks: Eve of the apocalypse, Slauhter of innocence, Coronation of our domain, No flesh shall be spared.
Alex Marquez`s drumming is pretty standard death metal with lots of blast beats and dobbel kick drums, but atleast this guy knows when to blast and not to blast. Technically he isn`t really that good; the album lacks the incredible tom rolls that Dave Cullros seems to master. Alex`s best work is defintly on Eve of the apocalypse. Here the drums are more varid.
Jason`s bass isn`t really there, but i am pretty shure he just follows Phil and Rob. This guy became much more a part of the band when he pick up the mic in "Eternal".
Brett Hoffman is an outstanding vocalist! His voice is pretty low, but there is still no problem to make out what he says. He is alot different from the later vocalists ( Jason and Kyle). But despite his incredible voice, i am in fact glad he is gone. Acording to Phil, the band always had problems with him, he never showed up for practice and was really aducted to drugs. Phil and Rob have stated that the could make a whole book about the guy! Anyway, you can`t complain about his charicteristic vocals, and neither can you complain about his lyrics related to killing and hate. The lyrics are actually pretty generic, but because of the way the sings them, you will love them.
Fucking A. This is one of the best albums I have ever fucking heard. This album epitomizes what death metal is.
The guitars riffs on this album are relentless. The solos are fast as hell, and the riffs are compromised as pure brutality in musical form, heavy as a dumptruck full of bricks. The bass has some serious bottom end (check out Jason's current band Divine Empire for another death metal treat). You are even treated with very short bass solos at some points of the album. The drums are absolutely uncompromising. Be prepared for your chest to cave in from the thrashy blast beats on this album. The vocals done by Brett Hoffman are amazing. They remind me of all early DM releases (Deicide s/t, Altars of Madness, Left Hand Path, Eaten Back to Life). Very low thrash vocals with a growling feeling to them. His screams are intense as fuck (possibly one of the greatest moments of extreme metal is on the song Slaughter of Innocense when he screams "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER DIE MOTHER FUCKERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!")
Like death metal? Want some old school shit that is still better than 90% of death metal that's out today? (no that isn't a bash on newer DM)
If you can ever find this album, you simply MUST get it.
Retribution usually makes it to the single digits on death metal Top 20 lists, and with good reason. Everything about this release is excellent, from the cover artwork to the booklet to the cd design, and that's not even mentioning the music. The band was at their top form here, more relaxed compared to their first cd, The Ten Commandments, and definately more tight compared to their next sloppy release Stillborn (I'll avoid pointing out the irony on that title). Although the band was having some difficulty with singer Brett Hoffman, he is in excellent vocal shape. While Jason's bass isn't heard at all, guitarists Phil Fasciana and Rob Barrett (pre Cannibal Corpse) are both harmonize very well. The drummer Alex Marquez also delivers tight and heavy rhythms.
The first song, "Eve of the Apocolypse" starts off with a slightly irritating keyboard and drum intro, but after the suspense is done building, it launches into a 3 minute death metal frenzy. The vocals are lower then on their later releases (with Brett) but are still fairly easy to decipher. Unlike the next few singers the band would go through, Brett makes vocal harmonies with the guitars, weaving his voice around the already insane riffing of Phil and Rob. This makes for much more catchy songs and which makes the entire release easy to sing (or scream) along too. "Systematic Execution" is perhaps the albums wekaest song, and even though it's fast and heavy it lacks the emotion of the other songs. The third track, "Slaughter of Innocence" is my favorite on the album. It starts off with a thrashy, plodding riff which is soon sped up and altered slightly. The vocal delivery is spot on, and Brett does his trademark "from the belly" scream for a few seconds around 2 minutes in. Even though the song is played at an astounding pace, it's still very easy to listen to and memorable. The album then slows down at track 4, with "Coronation of Our Demise". This is an interesting track because it shows their slower and choppier side. Definately a must hear, and no, it's not slow as in "Day of Lamentation" slow. "No Flesh Shall Be Spared" is another mid-tempo song, but fear not, the band picks up speed again with the stellar "The Coldest Survive". "Monster" is an aptly named track, sounding like the score to a horror movie. Yet another song showcasing the incredible songwriting skill of guitarist Phil, "Mindlock" is another metal masterpiece with a "singalong" chorus. Marquez is a drumming machine on this one! Unfortunately the cd is now almost over, wrapping up with "Iced" which an extremely angry sounding headbanger. The best part is the ending, featuring who I think is Brett, talking about drug use. I won't give away what he says, but it's great.
Malevolent Creation were at their best here, from lineup to musical ability, and it shows. This an absolute must have, and even though it's out of print, get one off of ebay. 34 minutes of absolute genious.