Malevolent Creation – “The 13th Beast” (Century Media / M-Theory Audio)
Gotta hand it to Phil Fasciana, this guy has stayed the course in still delivering old school US death metal since 1987! The sole founding member of Malevolent Creation, Fasciana has soldiered through 12 prior albums and despite the untimely death last year of original vocalist Brett Hoffmann, has continued unabated with a new line up, including new vocalist / lead guitarist Lee Wollenschlaeger to add to his arsenal. “The 13th Beast” lives up to Malevolent Creation’s 30 year legacy in every regard with not one iota of compromise whatsoever – hell, you could be listening to “The Ten Commandments” all over again! While I’m sure the consistency of the 11 tracks is sure to grate on some, this is how it was back then, and clearly Fasciana has every desire to serve it up to the band’s hardcore fanbase, along with anyone new who likes it just the way it was back in those days when there were a zillion US death metal bands from coast to coast. Relentless stampeding double bass drums, bear roaring vocals, ground quaking bass and most of all, nasty driller killer riffs, evil hooks and demented solos maketh the beast what it is here, now and forever more on tracks like ‘Canvas Of Flesh’ with its savage kick drumming, whirring riffola and fast insane soloing. Naturally we’ve heard it all before a million times over, but the slick tempo changes and intelligent arrangements ensure the music remains fresh and most of all, menacing as you look to each turn in the song with perverse pleasure! On ‘Trapped Inside’ the twin guitars whirr out a dark melody before the bludgeoning drum work sets to work on crushing your skull as Wollenschlaeger roars out the rhyming lyrics to a merry diddly dee accompaniment, while on the slow ‘Release The Soul’, Malevolent Creation show their grimness before rolling into an 80s groove that proves to be highly catchy especially during the chorus and then returning to the grind – excellent. To those with a superficial understanding, “The 13th Beast” might seem monotonous, but listen closer and it doesn’t take long before the detail of the compositions hit home, resonating the authenticity of true old school death metal in all its glory.