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I Declare War - "Malevolence" (CD)

I Declare War - "Malevolence" CD cover image

"Malevolence" track listing:

1. Malevolence
2. New Age Holocaust
3. Federal Death Alliance
4. Conformed to Fiction
5. Extermination Process
6. Damnation: Enslavement
7. Predetermined Path
8. Infinite Corruption
9. Putrification of the Population
10. Alea Iacta Est
11. Fractions

Reviewed by on July 13, 2010

"There is nothing fresh or new presented here with their sound, but the formula should go far enough to please current fans of the genre."

In the world that is deathcore you tend to have two different tiers of bands: the imagination capturing revolutionaries or the one-note-suits-all weekend warriors. Seattle based I Declare War fits somewhere in between, but where that is may be up for debate.

"Malevolence," the sophomore release for the quintet, is a chunky slab of breakdowns, down-tuned guitars, distorted to hell bass lines, and ferocious drumming. There is nothing fresh or new presented here with their sound, but the formula should go far enough to please current fans of the genre. It’s hard to ignore the negative aspects that plague "Malevolence" from being a great record.

Every song, while brutal and insanely heavy, seems to be lacking that special something that take the songs to the next level. It’s not until the seventh track, "Predetermined Path," that I Declare War adds some slight variations into the song writing. "Putrification of the Population" features an interesting lead guitar intro that builds itself into one of the more memorable tracks on the disc. The following instrumental "Alea Iacta Est" provides one of the very few guitar solos heard on the entire record and is one of the lone high points on "Malevolence."

There is no doubt that I Declare War is a talented band, but they seem to be stuck in the standard deathcore formula of fast intro, low guttural growls, and a breakdown to end the song. The thrills are few and far between, so those looking for something new might want to skip this album altogether. Fans of the genre however should find nothing wrong with "Malevolence" and enjoy all of the brutality, heaviness, and despair-filled lyrics to their fullest.

The future is really theirs for the taking. With the addition of some more solo work and a few more songs on the faster end of the spectrum, I Declare War could have the potential to become one of deathcore’s leading acts. While the album on a whole fails to impress, there is a lasting sense that something amazing is just a few notes away in every song. Unfortunately it never materializes this time around but does its best to build anticipation towards their next album. Let the waiting begin.

Highs: Insanely heavy without being overly technical.

Lows: Every song seems to end with the exact same metalcore breakdown.

Bottom line: A slower deathcore album that demonstrates both the positives and negatives of the genre.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)