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The year 1991 saw many a great debut album from Roadrunner Records, namely Gorguts "Considered Dead", and Suffocation "Effigy Of The Forgotten". Blending a style of brutal death metal with thrash roots, Malevolent Creation tore throughout he scene with their debut "The Ten Commandments". The early 90's were a critical time for metal, with many bands dissolving their thrash roots in favor of a more dissonant, chaos driven approach. This album is an excellent example of such "transitional approach", fusing the catchy elements of thrash with the down-tuned heaviness of more extreme acts.
While the instrumentation is obviously heavily influenced by bands such as Slayer and Bolt Thrower, Malevolent Creation manage to create layers of atmosphere. The double bass pummels your head as guitar lines weave in and out with precision; vocal lines and patterns paint landscapes of decay and damnation. Scott Burns produces yet another Roadrunner affair, remaining as consistent as ever. With all the elements in place, what could possibly set this band apart from the slew of similar releases at the time?
The answer is obvious; Bret Hoffmann. Besides delivering a refreshing vocal performance, Hoffmann conveys his lyrics like no other. These are some of the most descriptive, morbidly concise lyrics I have read/heard to date. For instance, take this passage from the track "Multiple Stab Wounds"; "Honed edge of deceasement, carving the sign of evil bliss; body left perforated , innocent victim of a twisted sickness, face smashed beyond recognition, broken pieces fall from the skull". This goes above and beyond the stereotypical religious/society rantings of similar bands. Hoffmann also has tremendous vocal endurance, forcing each line with conviction.
Most will look past this album in favor of "Retribution" (which, don't get me wrong is an amazing release) and totally miss out on a landmark album. Sure, the band sounds premature compared to later records, but it is their sheer approach and attack that makes this an underrated gem. In a time when bands were more or less ripping one or another off, Malevolent Creation came out of the gate like a steamroller destroying everything in its path. Roadrunner had some amazing releases back in the day; it's a shame that most bands these days fail to invoke similar atmospheric experiences.
While the entire album is great from start to finish, "Premature Burial", "Remnants of Withered Decay", "Multiple Stab Wounds", and "Sacrificial Annihilation" are definite stand out tracks. All in all, this is a very solid debut release from an often overlooked band. While many will argue over which release is best, there is little to no doubt that this classic stands the test of time.