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Redefining and refining their own malevolence - 70%

autothrall, May 12th, 2011

Few bands have such a substantial track record of committing faceless beatdowns to tape as the mighty Malevolent Creation, but I am happy to say that The Fine Art of Murder is not one of them. It’s close, sure, but that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. No, this is a decidedly interesting twist on the formula the band had been transgressing for nearly a decade prior, a swerve towards old school, primal death aesthetics that lend it a more ominous character. Perhaps this came with the re-acquisition of front man Brett Hoffman, who was present on their first (and still best) album The Ten Commandments. In fact, aside from Phil Fasciana, the Eternal Constant of Carnage, none of the parties responsible for the ultra brutal and ultimately bland In Cold Blood.

Robb Barrett returns on guitar, Dave Culross to the drum kit, and newcomer Gordon Simms joins Phil in the axe department. Together, the quintet very nearly makes magic, magic of the ‘malevolent’ sort that I had not previously been able to associate with a band whose nomenclature you’d think might assure it! Regardless, The Fine Art of Murder is successful in toning down some of the bands urbane/crackhouse dichotomy to a mesh of fibrous evil and a prior unvisited melodic space. A reactionary to the outpour of Swedish aristocracy that had taken the underworld by storm at this time? Perhaps not, but Brett Hoffman’s hoarse snarling resonates wonderfully over the sanguine speed of an “Instinct Evolved”, “Purge” or “Bone Exposed” like no one’s business beyond the mortuary. They were still occupying a space between their neighbors Deicide and Morbid Angel here, and this is an album I’d very highly recommend to Altars of Madness devotees

The band still conjures their signature street moshing violence through chuggers like “Mass Graves” and “Scorn”, but they also explore a more atmospheric territory through the creepy doom drawl of “Fracture” or the somber, fell glory of “Day of Lamentation” which even opens with acoustic guitars. I can’t promise that either has much in store for the necronaut, but it’s interesting that they even exist after an album so stubbornly brutal and sadistic as In Cold Blood. It’s this willingness to adapt and try their hand at such marginal variations of their past that has always kept Malevolent Creation in the game. This is not one of their best albums, perhaps, but its by no means a misstep, and with slightly more consistent writing and more standout individual riffs, it might have graduated into the field of the cult classic.


So Far, Their Best - 89%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, October 28th, 2008

The Fine Art Of Murder signs the come back for two members in the line-up, the great singer Brett Hoffmann and Dave Culross at the drums and you can hear the difference…this new Malevolent Creation effort is a true hit behind the head for violence and speed. First of all, we can begin from the production that is easily the best they’ve ever had. Their style, thanks also to that production, is somehow more bound to a death/thrash form. The guitars riffs are sharp and powerful but not so distorted like in the past and the vocals follow the same style with schizophrenic screams that are never excessive but always truly nasty.

“To Die At His Hand” and the following “Manic Demise” show great mixes of different speed. The blast beats are more preponderant in the first track, while the riffs are darker on the second one. By the way, the blast beats sections and the up tempo parts are present in both the compositions to add brutality and speed to them. The choruses are well-stuck and far catchier than in the past; that’s a good thing. The precision of the drumming is unbelievable and still nowadays I prefer Culross behind the drums. “Instinct Evolved” and “Dissect the Eradicated” are both great and catchy for the guitars lines and this time we have a general, more careful concentration on the structures. The blast beats are alternated to hyper heavy, almost doom parts but the riffs are always present and fast.

On the other hand we can find also longer songs on this album, like “Mass Graves” or the title track. The first song is incredibly catchy with the riffs and the snare drum rolls part. It’s incredible to notice that even if this song is long, it doesn’t bore me also because there are good, faster restarts spread all around. The title track has some weak points by the beginning and the end with those effects and some clean vocals, by the way, going on the things are getting better and the speed increases reaching the blast beats too in the central part. “Bone Exposed” is more than probably the sickest track here and it’s on continue fast pace. The blast beats are vicious and the violence is multiplied for ten, in order to level every building around.

“The Purge” follows the return to speed with three minutes of fast tempo and excellent bass drum work. Even this time we have far catchier structures and riffs. The fast songs in this album are better structured that the ones in the past. “Fracture” features again those “clean”, disturbed vocals in some parts and they are not exceptional, but once again the style changes when the song changes of skin and adds viciousness at the structure. The riffs are better in those parts and “Rictus Surreal” shows faster riffs with equally good mid-paced sections. “Scorned” has a prevalent thrash metal riffage inside with lots of palm muting parts while the tremolo picking technique add a dark touch to this good track.

“Day Of lamentation” is an experiment in change for this band. The dark lines and the melancholic arpeggios are a thing never heard before from this band and it’s a great song. Everything is sad, cold and totally lifeless in terms of feelings. The long, doom progression is frankly astounding for innovation. “Scattered Flesh” is the violent episode to close the album with furious blast beats and the violence that arises once again. All things considered, up till now this is the Malevolent Creation album I like the most. It’s brutal but shows also more convincing structures and a more complete songwriting. If it wasn’t for some weak parts, it could have been even great.

DE-STROY - 85%

spacecorpse1, October 9th, 2007

This is good. This is very good indeed. I still can't really believe the speed of the blast beats on this album and frankly I can't understand why more others haven't made a big stink about it as well.

The blast beats on this album are soo fast and soo brutal that you will hear them slower than they really are because it can't be right? Man, the blast beats are quite a bit faster than on Terrorizer's World Downfall album but in that general style. Drummer Dave Culross obviously makes this album what it is because without him providing his signature blasting this would be kind of mediocre Death Metal; still good but certainly mediocre. Oh and I also need to mention the crushing pummel of Dave Culross's more than competent double bass delivery here. And topping it all of is a very punchy, natural, fluid production of the drums curteosy of Brian Griffin of Broken Hope.

So where does that leave us? Obviously I've praised the drumming on this album but what of the rest of it? Vocalist Brett Hoffman's raspy, venomous, hatefilled bellows are in perfect form here. Guitarists Phil Fasciana and Rob Barret(of Cannibal Corpse fame) deliver a sharp, crunchy, deadly performance here. What's good about the guitars is how they perfectly work around the percussive nature of the compositions; fully utilizing Dave Culross's pounding, time keeping flow here.

This album has it all in the spectrum of death metal. Totally fast blasters, mid paced crunchers that build and grab you by the balls, excellent Slayer-esque breakdowns(before they became overdone)... It is surprising to me that this isn't a more highly revered album in Malevolent Creation's discography. I feel that this, along with their first albums were their best of all. Envenomed, the album that came after this one, usually received all the acolades but that one had a production quality to it that was slightly too digital and pasted together feeling to be as good as this one. But nevertheless this is just my opinion and one should consider that Malevolent Creation has made this above average slab of pleasing to the ears death metal sickness that should be checked out by anyone into killer drumming and violent music.