Released: 2013, Transcend Music
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
There’s a long old statement from singer Dale accompanying ‘V’ about how Malefice have been written off and now they’re back evolved, reinvented, and other life-affirming statements, about how this is an album that represents them, a record of feelings.
It’s interesting that these Reading metallers would describe themselves as ‘written off’ when for much of their history people have been upholding them as a great example of British metal and such. Am I now going to make it worse by casually sweeping aside those notions of significant reinvention that I paraphrased a minute ago? Well sorry boys cause I hate to upset the pot, especially given how keen us Brits are on our tea, but yeah I’m not sure.
Now wait, I’m not saying there hasn’t been change - V is superior to previous release Awaken The Tides, but once again feels like Malefice have had their direction heavily influenced by what everyone else is doing. A bit like how a compass always points north, and this time that way lays melody.
There’s still some frenzied heavy in ‘V’, with its distorted ending as though the speakers just gave up trying to compress it, and ‘Never Say Die’, which seems to be the obligatory djenty one. But the album is back-loaded with a more melodic brewing, beginning with ‘Wasted’, which combines heavier riffing with epic multi-voice choruses. ‘Time’ is a largely instrumental affair, which rises and falls like a shade against the night, but dare I say like the setting of the sun you know when it’s going to happen.
At only seven average-length tracks V feels short, and perhaps that was intentional in order to have it feel more like a focused statement, than a rambling monologue. You just can’t shake the feeling that you’ve heard the same before, like watching the film-of-the-book - and that’s not to say that Malefice don’t do a ruddy good job because the melody seems to suit them. But after five albums this may very well be who Malefice are, and it’s not that different to everyone else.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs