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Monday, May 4, 2015

Review: Malevolence - Relentless Entropy

I haven't felt much like writing over the past year or so.  Something I promised myself when I started this blog in 2010, was that I wouldn't allow it to become a burden like the old print version of 'Subcide Zine' did. As it happens, right now I'm feeling quite creative and motivated. There are a number of releases that have inspired me in the last while that I'd like to tell you all about. They may not be new as such, so if you have already heard them I encourage you to take another listen.  I've particularly enjoyed listening to and writing about this one.

Chris Rigby

Malevolence - Relentless Entropy (Self released)

Not so long ago I was checking out an old album by ‘Groinchurn’ called ‘Sixtimesnine'. ‘Groinchurn’ were a kick ass grindcore band from South Africa in the late 90s. When listening to it I thought "Man that was a great era for grindcore. Bands had started to develop musically. They were incorporating new diverse, intricate, interesting and engaging concepts into their music. The results being really enjoyable listening experiences." Brutal Truth were pioneers of this concept. Napalm Death had started to go down the same path and Nasum had just appeared on the scene. But where was this sound these days? Sure Napalm Death are still here and kicking ass. But Brutal Truth are over, as are Nasum, but why is there no one new doing this or developing it further?

As synchronicity would have it, after their 20+ years of existence 'Malevolence' come along with 'Relentless Entropy' to fill that gap. From start to finish it’s a consistent piece of modern grind art. It kicks off with 'Approaching Monster', an instrumental climbing intro which is later complimented by the album outro 'Retreating Monster', assumedly sequels to 'Passing Monster' from the 2007 EP ‘Eyes to See, Ears to Hear, Wrists to Slit’. ‘Approaching Monster’ leads directly into 'Digitize', a 1 min 49 second grinder focusing on our unavoidable existence of having our entire lives documented and tracked on line. Opening and closing with “Welcome unit, to the machine”, within Digitize we are issued with our serial number “3-4-4-4-8-4-9-3” which I’m pretty sure is also a clever reference to the guitar fret numbers of the riff beneath it. Then in the same tone we have 'Legalize', which talks about a dystopian future where food no longer grows and in order to survive, humanity must turn to cannibalism. Feeding on the vegetarians first, before farming thy neighbour. “The Adversary’ breaks the 3 minute mark for the first of only 2 times on ‘Relentless Entropy’. It also introduces the first section that could possibly be described as slower. The Adversary appears to be a character who is the “Anti-theist”, neither Christ nor Anti-Christ, they have come to free earth from the shackles of religion and to encourage humanity to “Think God out of existence”. ‘Transparent’, with its animosity toward the shallow nature of mainstream society, is the only song on the album where the music isn’t written by main man Daryl Tapsell, but by former second guitarist Nich Cunningham. Despite the different composer it still sits perfectly along with what sounds like a subtle nod to brutal truth played in reverse. The next 2 are short sub 1 minute grinders. The first is “Property of Satan” inspired by Daryl's tattoo.

Then we have the 23 second 'Butchered', which if I hadn’t read they lyric sheet I wouldn’t know was a personal tribute to the late Matt Hall, former vocalist of ‘Backyard Burial’, who in 2011 was “Butchered by a cunt!”

“Home brew Memories
BBQ smoking weed
Long nights of philosophy
Techniques of the scream
Mushroom recipes
Pros and cons of LSD
Some of what you were to me
Metal brother rest in piece”

'Bleed' tackles class warfare and highlights the fact that tory scum still bleed the same as you and I when you take their heads off. ‘Nothing and Nowhere’ reminds us that we’re all insignificant in the grand scheme of everything and explores the experimental grind style to a deeper level with its discordant chords riffs, before fading out slowly with various samples of scientific facts. 'Chased through the woods (with a rhyming dictionary)’ takes the piss out of immature gore themed death metal lyrics. All of which are of course rhymed. Track 11 '99942 Apophis' hits with a super heavy chaotic barrage, not unlike its namesake asteroid which is due to collide with earth on April 13, 2029. Apophis 99942 also is closest comparison to the war metal chaos that's currently coming out of New Zealand, and it comes nicely garnished with a sprig of vintage Morbid Angel. 'Human Suit’ has the most coherent lyrics/vocal and memorable chorus of the album, also the most catchy musically. It follows the life of a protagonist who becomes so disgusted with the human race they decide to murder it, finishing with themselves. ‘Idle hands' begins with a voice sample from the 1990/1 Ice T album ‘OG’ where Ice is introducing us to his new metal band ‘Body Count’. The song itself, the most straight forward metal tune, is a misanthropic view of someone who has sold their soul to their corporate job at the expense of everything else important. 'Life Machines’ is the album’s slowest and at 3:46min, longest tune. It begins with a creeping not-quite-doom riff, before ramping up the grind and death combo and Dives into slowness again briefly before finishing on an increasingly speed up War Pigs meets grindcore ending. ‘Life Machines’ spells out most directly the theme that’s been running right through ‘Relentless Entropy’ i.e. nothing we do in our lives will ever amount to anything of significance, we’re all getting older and we’re all going to die one day before eventually being forgotten. …Then the monster finally retreats wrapping up ‘Relentless Entropy’.

Malevolence have been around for over 20 years now, and constantly get better every time I hear them. ‘Relentless Entropy’ is testament to that. It has a simple Black and white cover - Just like the best grindcore albums. It’s held together with trade off vocals from rock solid ass player Julian (I’ve known this guy since 1998 and I still have no idea what his last name is), intense drumming from Ben (also skin pounder for Vassafor) and of course the stellar guitar work of Daryl. 

‘Relentless Entropy’ is modern technical grindcore at its best. It survives and grows upon multiple listens. It will be a treat to hear what level Malevolence elevate themselves to next!

It’s a grind album you should invest in! You can do that by going to and purchasing it in CD, Vinyl or digital form.

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