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Still Holds Up Well - 80%

corviderrant, November 16th, 2005

"The Ten Commandments" was one of the first Florida DM albums I bought back in the day and it was pretty nice back then. This was before the scene started getting oversaturated and Roadrunner began cornering the market and contributing to that scene's death, mind you, so this was fresh and new for the time. The production had not degenerated into the mushy drone that characterized Florida DM no thanks to Scott Burns, it was still relatively individualistic. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Malevolent Creation were one of the better bands of this era--more like Slayer on steroids than anything else. The dirty guitar tone and frenzied yet controlled (and not triggered that I can tell) drumming and riffs give that away more than anything else.

Brett Hoffmann's vocals are distinct and (semi-) intelligible too, none of this Chris Barnes cupping the mic and grunting incoherently crap. He was a screamer more than anything else and he added a sinister edge to the album with his tortured shrieks and growls. His lyrics are pretty typical fare of violent death, violent death, and well...more violent death. What else would you expect?

The riffing is fast and precise--Slayer on steroids, as I said--and features a very appropriate guitar sound to go with it; saturated, yet not so distorted or downtuned that you can't distinguish individual notes. Soloing is minimal and to the point--not too much time spent on leads: Jeff and Phil get in, make their point, and get out before overstaying their welcome. A wise maneuver, too, because if they'd played more their limitations as players would have become more obvious. The rhythm section is good and tight too, with Mark Simpson's exceptional drum work leading the way. He doesn't rely on blasting anywhere near as much as DM has come to rely on it and varies tempos in a clever and creative yet solid manner. Jay Blachowicz's bass only pokes its head out here and there (the intro to "Injected Sufferage", for example), and he has a cool, punchy and chorused tone that is cleaner than you'd expect.

Standout tunes:

"Memorial Rites" is an excellent intro that sets a mood better than most filler "intros" of their sort do these days. It serves a purpose, and that is to lead into the album and warm you up for the onslaught that follows with its doomy riffs and mournful leads, as well as excellent drumming.

'Premature Burial" roars into the gap left by the hanging end of "Memorial Rites" with frenzied blast beats leading into a galloping verse (very Bay Area thrash, actually, in its precise triplet feel) and Brett Hoffmann screaming and snarling "Not dead yet, why I am ignored? Mourning for the dead!" on the chorus. His scream of "PREMATURE BURIAL!!!!" at the end of this chorus is hair-raising in its intensity.

"Multiple Stab Wounds" is menacing and evil, with a great chorus that starts "Termination's tool bites unwilling flesh!" with nice gang vocals on "bites". Nice double kick on the chorus too with ominous single note riffing over it. A right headbanger that is not too fast or too slow, rather it has a perfect midtempo headbanging feel.

"Thou Shall Kill!" features more Bay Area-sounding galloping riffs imbedded here and there, and yet another great chorus, in fact probably my favorite on the album, inviting one to scream along in mindless glee.

"Injected Sufferage" has a very cool opening bass riff (descending chromatic scale, gotta love it) leading into more punishing riffage in a song about AIDS sufferers. I kind of don't like the lyrics on this one too much--he seems pretty well homophobic and intolerant--but the song itself is heavy duty enough to make me forget about that detail.

"Malevolent Creation" ends the album on an epic note with urgency and power and not boring at all. It has a ear-catching beginning featuring more of those wonderful riffs and a truly evil scream from Brett at the end as they ride out.

All in all, this is worthy of eminent status in my book, as it captures the beginnings of an influential scene at its best and brightest. It's certainly better than a lot of the crap they cranked out after this album, let me tell you. Hunt it down or download it and see what I mean.