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The bat is back - 72%

Felix 1666, July 25th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Punishment 18 Records (Reissue)

In Malice's Wake are my personal shooting stars of the last months. Both their second and their latest album are crammed with spirited, explosive and intelligently designed thrash grenades. Highly recommended for everybody who wants to impress his neighbourhood. Indeed, the old dogma is still valid: whenever I am at home, my neighbours listen to metal - whether they like it or not. But now let me take a look at the first album of the Australians which was published in 2008.

Although the strange creature of the artwork reminds me of the befuddled bat of the German Noisehunter, In Malice's Wake are not prone to the naivety of some Teutonic warriors of the mid-eighties. The Australian debutants have already developed some key skills. They show a more than solid degree of technical competence, they do not lack of musicality and, last but not least, the song-writing process has mostly been successful. People who say that this debut sounds immature, ill-defined or uninteresting have not understood the basics. Moreover, "Eternal Nightfall" is equipped with an organic sound, neither overproduced nor compressed. Instead, the mix combines clarity and sharpness. No doubt, this production has no need to fear international comparison. Thus, each and every prerequisite for another classic is given.

However, the word "classic" is not suitable for the album. Indeed, some songs are infectious. For example, listen to the beginning of "To Run with the Darkness" and its steadily increasing level of intensity. But In Malice's Wake also surprise with some soft parts. Of course, occasionally occurring calm sequences are not bad per se, but here they do not really fit. Worse still, they hurt the overall impression of some tunes ("The Path Less Travelled", "A Dusk Covers Day"). Nevertheless, the advantages of "Eternal Nightfall" outweigh the disadvantages in a significant manner. Outstanding pieces like the title track with its erratic guitars at the beginning, its exciting flow and its resilient configuration anticipate the later development of the band. Yet it is not necessary to pick out single songs. The entire first half of the album provides sharp riffs, thoughtful tempo changes, vigorous lead vocals and wild melodies. The first soft intermezzo shows up in "Man-Made Death" and, unfortunately, the lenient parts have come to stay. Only the strong closer finds the way back to pure thrash metal - and due to the fact that the reissue also contains their first EP, the listener gets another non-sensitive, powerful song. "Blackened Skies" is the name of the only number which did not find a place on the original edition of the full-length.

Okay, the talented band has not yet found its style. A certain fickleness can be diagnosed and that's the main reason why "Eternal Nightfall" cannot knock out their later releases. Or am I just the victim of my own narrow-mindedness? Perhaps I just don't understand the concept. Remember "Painkiller", this album also bundled the more aggressive songs at the beginning and the second half presented only mid-paced numbers. Maybe In Malice's Wake had a similar design in mind when positioning the less harsh tunes at the end? It doesn't matter. This is a recommendable album, because firstly, it offers a handful of successful compositions and, secondly, it shows the beginnings of one of the best thrash squadrons of today. By the way, a fourth full-length is always welcome.

Eternal Nightfall. - 85%

Perplexed_Sjel, December 16th, 2008

‘Eternal Nightfall’ is essentially a collaborative effort with each musician playing a significant role in achieving the success that this record should receive and undeniably deserves after all the troubles that have toiled and plagued the hardworking souls behind the music. Each musician raises his instrument like a sword in battle, ready and waiting to strike its listener dead with the sweet sounding melodies that sweep from one corner of this record to the other, filling the awkward silences with moments of sublimity. Each of them ready and willing to die for the other in their bid for success, leaving no stone unturned in its search for prominence and spilling the blood of its metaphorical foe who proved no problem is too big for this challenge seeking Melbourne act (such as the numerous problems the band encountered on the road to recording this beast). Standing up to its foe in a charismatic stance, face-to-face, In Malice’s Wake prove that no problems will defy the enigmatic energy and exuberance that the musicians emit from their individual performances.

From the cruising sweet sounds of the melodic guitars, of which there are two, to the underlying bass which lies in support of the guitars, the soundscapes stretch across the open plains, littered with the metaphorical bodies of the defiant problems that occurred during recording and spilling across the soundscapes an image of a monument to the fellow musicians. ‘Eternal Nightfall’ recognises its purpose immediately, imposing an image of a group of good friends playing their hearts and souls out in order to produce the best possible sound for their brothers. The passion and pride that has gone into achieving this record, even merely putting it out there to be heard by this band of brothers, of which there are actually two in this band (Shaun and Mark Farrugia), is accessible to the audience who’re left admiring the determination and will that drives the musicians on towards the glorious promise land of thrash godliness.

To my ears, there is an obvious Death influence and an old school vibe about the Australian quartet, which is always a good thing and should undoubtedly see the influx of an even bigger following given the right amount of exposure. In Malice’s Wake do the defunct band justice with their tormenting experimentation that likes to dabble with experimentation and harsh entities, such as distortion driven guitars, layered bass and technical drumming which makes good use of double bass during the instrumental attacks and cymbal/snare work. It isn’t hard to imagine that In Malice’s Wake could be looking at a record deal after this tremendous and hard working debut effort. Given the fact that the band encountered such problems during recording sessions and whatnot, the band show their true form on ‘Eternal Nightfall’.

The musicianship, regardless of whether we’re dealing with Shaun’s harsh vocals which recoil and shake the listeners resolve as they’re pummelled time and again, or Ben’s ability to lead on bass throughout songs like ‘To Run With Darkness’, the musicianship and solid song writing are both outward elements that portray the fact that skill and talent is for life and that no matter what troubles you encounter along the way, this fact will remain so and see you through the hard times, which it has done for In Malice’s Wake. Each song expresses with its instrumentation a lasting effect that gives memorable status to the individual songs and the record in an overall sense. As well as this, it also reiterates the point that class is permanent. From song to song, there are at least two or three moments of sublimity where the listener is caught off guard like an unprepared general who’s limited troops and swooped upon by the powerful enemy. From the lead guitars on ‘Pay The Price’, which attack again and again like an unrelenting pre-emptive strike.

To the electric-acoustic sections and emotionally devouring bass of the epic ‘The Path Less Travelled’, which exudes an experimental touch whilst still keeping in contact with the old school that influenced much of the material behind the scenes. Songs like the aforementioned prove the point that as ‘Eternal Nightfall’ progresses, the record further enhances its ability to effect the audience with moments of sublimity. ‘The Path Less Travelled’, with its moments of harmonious singing, mellifluous guitars and bass which lays much of the foundations for the brilliance which is to follow establishes the record as one that progresses in leaps and bounds at every turn. The musicians have an ability to work together like a Trojan, ploughing forward through the endless sea of ungifted and untalented bands that plague the scene both in Australasia and worldwide in order to keep their heads above the water, showing that they are a force to be reckoned with.

As previously touched upon, In Malice’s Wake like to adhere to the traditional as well as the modern day era, which adds a fresh sounding appeal to the band. The ability to work in unison is best shown on tracks like ‘The Path Less Travelled’, which is a personal favourite and ‘Weakness In Numbers’ with its war like connotations through the bullet drumming and furious war cries of the vocalist, but perhaps most importantly, the way in which the bass and guitars work side by side to create a crushing effect, stamping out all foes and negative critics. More of the same in the future, please.