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Malevolence - "Antithetical" (CD)

Malevolence - "Antithetical" CD cover image

"Antithetical" track listing:

1. Slithering
2. Cult of the Everlasting
3. Devoured Unlimited
4. Antithetical
5. Equilibrium In Extremis
6. Exocortex Momentum
7. Mechanisms of Destructive Behavior

Reviewed by on November 27, 2013

"Hailing from Potugal, Malevolence’s influences lead to a very different feel and attitude than what you’d hear from the typical European metal release, mixing in a handful of tech and prog elements to what is primarily a brutally heavy album."

More than ten years in the making, the extreme metal outfit Malevolence now releases “Antithetical,” the follow-up to 1999’s “Martyrialized.” Hailing from Portugal, Malevolence’s influences lead to a very different feel and attitude than what you’d hear from the typical European metal release, mixing in a handful of tech and prog elements to what is primarily a brutally heavy album.

“Antithetical” opens strong with the frenzied and fast paced “Slithering,” which is easily one of the best offerings on the album. There’s definitely a blackened feel to the track with the symphonic background and dark atmosphere, but there’s also a technical bass presence. Things then change significantly on “Cult of Everlasting,” where the tempo slows down, and unfortunately a good deal of repetition sets in. It’s a problem that also occurs on “Devoured Unlimited” and the title track, and it drags down an otherwise solid release. However, even when there is repetition the album remains relentlessly heavy and brutal, so if those are qualities you admire, “Antithetical” may still be worth it.

Aside from the repeating elements, there is an issue of how the various parts of the album don’t always seem to meet up smoothly and attach together. All the essentials are there - the booming rapid fire drums, the deep and harsh vocals, the sexy bass lines, the random symphonic bits – but there are times when they aren’t crafted together in a way that flows well. The opening to “Exocortex Momentum” is one of those instances where things don’t seem to line up properly, with the music sounding out of sync from the vocals.

However, there are also plenty of instances where the stars do align and the elements combine for the desired effect, like when the guitar riffs suddenly shift gears on “Exocortex Momentum” and take a thrashier turn. Although it starts off rocky, the track goes through multiple smooth transitions into acoustic material and back into abrasive, extreme metal. “Mechanisms of Destructive Behavior” is another one that gets it right, utilizing distorted guitar feedback sounds to amp up the atmosphere.

While a bit of a mixed bag overall, Malevolence’s return to the metal scene is worth hearing for fans of extreme metal of either the black or death variety, and there’s enough varied influences in there to give the album a wide appeal for metalheads.

Highs: Constantly brutal, and there are lots of different influences to be found.

Lows: Several of the tracks are longer than they need to be with unnecessary repetition, and there are times with the various parts don't seem to mesh well.

Bottom line: Although a bit on the uneven side, Malevolence's return to the extreme metal arena is still a headbanging good time.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)