Having had the pleasure of seeing Reading’s Malefice about eight times, it has become clear that as time has gone on, they have not only pushed the boundaries of being one of the UK’s most innovative practitioners of in-your-face heavy metal. As one of the many bands who incorporate an exceptionally tight blend of anything from thrash to modern heavy to death metal, with their latest expedition into their up-and-down journey in the form of a 4-track EP called Gravitas, Malefice have undoubtedly stumbled upon something quite spectacular.
From the days of Entities and Dawn Of Reprisal, Malefice made their mark on the metal scene with tours alongside heavy metal giants DevilDriver and black metal behemoths Behemoth…ahem. And that mark was unanimously determined that they can craft great, pure heavy metal from all corners, and somehow up the ante in their own fashion by their ferocity. There’s a tinge of Killswitch Engage melody, Meshuggah technicality and Lamb of God rhythm, and yet a presence, both vocally and instrumentally, that makes Malefice an entity of their own. Gravitas exemplifies all of that dynamic to such a high standard that the Reading five-piece essentially give heavy a whole new meaning.
One can ignore the idea of being heavy for the sole purpose of being heavy – because while vocalist Dale Butler says “[writing] some fucking heavy music to headbang to” is his ultimatum, the band succeed in doing that and also recreate the aura they possess that if there’s any justice in the world, will get them the recognition they fully deserve. Gravitas is an EP that is full of earth-shattering riffs and a technical prowess that catches the ears. Full of hooks and surprises, Malefice are not one to shy away from the merciless venom on the strings.
Perhaps what is more noticeable is the overall pugnacious display from Dale Butler, whose voice cascades over the sensational polyrhythmic drum work and monstrous guitar and bass like a duck taking to water. His voice complements the section of the songs, offering some slaying guttural screams both low and high over the vicious work, and allowing us to soak in some insane breakdowns before ushering in some more of his vitriol.
Throughout the EP, we see traces of Butler’s impeccably improved cleans, and as such offers his bellowing voice to offer some serenity, if only for a while, before the heaviness implodes again and sweeps us all away in permanent headbang-mode. Malefice continue to craft deeper into their arsenal by offering more vivacious wizardry on the guitars and with compliments to some poignant progression from start to finish. The drums and bass work together in unison accordingly and bring their pounding rhythmic genius to full light.
Gravitas is a fucking great EP. There is no other better way to put it. This EP will work for so many reasons and justifiably so, because Malefice have turned things around for themselves after their brief break and should give them some much-deserved attention for their musical capabilities. Also these four tracks will most definitely be a highlight live, if you didn’t think the band were cutting-edge enough as it is. Highly recommended purchase for you, and get another copy for your nan as well! Christmas is only a few days away after all.
Job well done lads.
4. My Design
Dale Butler – Vocals
Ben Symons – Guitar
Andrew Wilson – Guitar
James Pearly Cook – Drums
Tom Hynes – Bass