MALEFICE – Awaken The Tides
No rest for the modern metal brigade. The model to succeed in 2011 is much like it was pre-video era: tour, tour…and possibly tour some more. Make sure you are able to offer various merchandise opportunities. Connect with your fans frequently and as deeply as possible. Keep the new music coming at regular 18-24 month intervals. Assemble the best team of people around you to build the band’s brand. Now comes the third album from Malefice “Awaken The Tides” – off of a lengthy year of hard touring with the likes of Arch Enemy and Anthrax among others – so let’s hope that the tightness and togetherness translates into an explosive, premier achievement for the five piece.
Guitarists Ben Symons and Alex Vuskans certainly carry their share of the music load for Malefice – their aggressive riff approach still contains enough melodic hook bite to keep songs like “Dead In The Water” and “Outnumbered, Outgunned” from being mere Lamb Of God/ Pantera copycat numbers. Atmospheric keyboard parts broaden Malefice’s dynamics on a slower track like “Minutes”, yet the choppy Meshuggah-like guitar/rhythm time signature change ups during the verses and the background bridge vocal harmonies really make this song one of the difference makers in the band’s unique approach. Vocalist Dale Butler displays an abrasive mid-range raspy delivery, although there are times he’ll reach back for the slight death roar or high pitched hardcore scream – “Blessed Cursed” the easiest example of his take notice effect.
In comparison to the pack of bands they wish to rise in status with, “Awaken The Tides” contains the best balance between heaviness and possible commercial breakthrough. I find the more melodic material such as the aforementioned “Minutes” and “The Day The Sky Fell” gives Malefice a platform to launch from – as you can be groove-oriented and also write deep, thoughtful arrangements.
Not my in my normal daily listening wheelhouse, “Awaken The Tides” keeps my interest and could be a sleeper hit this summer season.