British metal band Malefice drop their fifth album since forming in 2007, a crushingly heavy yet balanced album aptly named ‘V’. The band seems to have a bit to prove but that doesn’t stop them from branching out and mixing in some decidedly un-metal elements to form a very cohesive, exciting effort.
‘V’ comes out right away with a pounding, pure metal title track. There’s anger and intensity with electronic effects, giving it a Bring Me The Horizon flair. This song seems to set the stage for the album, slapping you in the face with everything they’ve got. A bit frenzied and oppressive, Malefice definitely knows how to play metal.
This metalfest continues with ‘The Great Deceiver,’ with hints of melody, under crushingly loud guitars and brutal screams. There are catchy elements here with some singing on the chorus. ‘Never Say Die’ hits you with solo screaming and adds to that “we have something to prove” vibe. This track has a bouncy rhythm, old school super-fast riffs and is super heavy but manages to have an almost dance-like feel.
But right after this is where things take a turn. Not for the worse, but for the dramatic. ‘Wasted’ has some ballad-like, slowly building instrumentals but still throws in those lightning-quick guitars and drums. It is the most melodic song yet to be featured on the album and breaks up the unrelenting intensity with a sung chorus.
Then ‘Time’ fades in with an eerie strummed electric guitar that slowly builds and adds more and more instruments until it breaks into a dramatic instrumental track with just enough metal to keep it from being cheesy. Somehow the band is able to infuse a huge amount of emotion into the song without any lyrics, and this track is a huge departure from the rest of ‘V’.
This continues with ‘Blueprints’ and ‘Reach Up’, with more melody and drama added into the already epic, frenzied metal the band expertly executes. There is more piano, more singing, and some simpler moments that allows certain aspects to be given the spotlight – like in guitar solos or melody.
This is not a chug-fest, but an exploration in how far the band can stretch their metal chops into something a bit less, well, metal but still maintain their credibility. There is a lot going on in this album, but Malefice has managed to pack all of what they are into just seven songs. This is a solid example of how genres are always in flux.
‘V’ by Malefice is out on the 28th April on Transcend Music.
Words by Jenny Gagas