The Paper Box, Brooklyn, NY
September 21, 2013
Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by SheWolf
A long time ago (summer of 1992) in Philadelphia we had this late nite metal radio show on 94.1 WYSP called Rockers. At 2AM they would play the “Dive of Death” which was a double shot of death metal, brutal stuff that never got any fucking airplay EVER. One Friday night they played Malevolent Creation’s “Mindlock” and I was blown away by the ferocity and Brett Hoffman’s extra-long growl at the end of the song! Shortly afterward I bought a copy of the recently released RETRIBUTION and my love for the band began! Formed in 1987 in Buffalo, NY, Malevolent Creation became an underground smash with their blistering Slayer-on-steroids demos, and their first two albums THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and RETRIBUTION quickly established them as a pillar of the death metal community. 26 years since their inception the band has released 11 albums and gone through various lineup changes, but at the moment the lineup sports 3 “classic era” members, vocalist Brett Hoffman, guitarist, Phil Fasciana, and bassist Jason Blachowicz. Drummer Gus Rios has been with the band since 2010 and guitarist Gio Geraca has been shredding with Malevolent since 2009. When it was announced last May that Malevolent would be playing their only US gig in 2013 at The Paper Box in Brooklyn, I bought tickets as soon as I could! I was ready to fucking rage man! BRING IT!
The Paper Box is this little club on a dark abandoned looking alley in Brooklyn. From the outside it didn’t look like much, somebody had fucking spray painted the address on the outside wall, which was helpful in determining which shithole building it was. Inside, the place was surprisingly well kept. There are two rooms, one with a good sized stage about two feet off of the floor, the other with a small stage only inches off of the floor. Place held about 500 people but it wasn’t sold out. Sound quality was generally good but there were a few minor sound problems during the set which were corrected. The main stage had no barrier so stage diving was a lock. Malevolent was part of the Rage of Armageddon Fest that had started at 4pm, but we arrived about 8:15 PM just wanting to catch Malevolent at 9:30. Before their set, I met singer Brett Hoffman at the merch booth and got a picture with him. He was very cool and down to earth and it was thrill for me to meet one of my all-time favorite vocalists! That’s one of the best things about death metal shows – band members are often selling merch before or after their set and most are very friendly and like interacting with the fans. No pretense, no egos, no bullshit, these guys are regular people just like you and me, except put ‘em on a stage and they’ll raise fucking hell and skin you alive!
As 9:30 approached I made my way into the pit and immediately was smacked in the face with the familiar b.o. smell – hey it ain’t an underground metal show if there isn’t some rank b.o.! I talked metal with a few people I’ve never met before and reconnected with a few other Philly based people that made the trip like me. Malevolent opened with “Slaughterhouse” from 2010’s INVIDIOUS DOMINION and just tore us the fuck up! Sound was perfect – these guys have lost none of their evil power over the years! Brett’s powerful vocals sounded just like they do on the albums, even better at times. He can go guttural, mid-range, and high pitch all on the same growl, and nobody has the lung capacity Brett has, he can stretch a growl to amazing lengths. Those 14 second growls heard on THE TEN COMMANDMENTS are not touched up at all, fucking incredible! The band was very tight and together and you could tell right away you were watching a veteran band. Phil and Gio’s riffs and solos just seared through your ears as Kevin’s (Kevin Peace was filling in on bass for Jason Blachowicz) bass reverberated through the building and Gus’s blast beats fucking smoked! HOLY SHIT THIS IS EVEN BETTER THAN WHAT I WAS HOPING FOR!
Once the second song started, the old classic “Multiple Stab Wounds” (HONED EDGE OF DEFACEMENT!), the pit went apeshit and the violence level shot up 100%! I was right in the thick of it, dishing it out and taking some hits while singing and banging my head! Then we got old favorite “Coronation of Our Doman” (FOOLS FALL BACKWARDS, PASSION FOR VICTORY NEVER IN SIGHT!) and the pit was like the fucking Oklahoma Drill* out there, guys lighting each other up! All of this shit sounded as good as or better than the album versions and I was quite happy! I could listen to these motherfuckers all night man! Also, the mosh pit actually improved my cold! Fuck antibiotics, get out there and kick some ass!
Malevolent has a huge catalog, so they mixed songs from various albums throughout the set. Besides the killer cuts I already mentioned, my faves of the night included RETRIBUTION’s “Eve of the Apocalypse” (complete with the HENRY, PORTRIAT OF A SERIAL KILLER theme intro!), “Blood Brothers” (great track from ETERNAL, much better with Brett singing than Jason), “Born Again Hard” (makes me think of FULL METAL JACKET!), “The Will to Kill” (great chorus by Brett!), “Homicidal Rant” (sounds exactly like you think it would!) , and of course, the grand finale leveler “Malevolent Creation” (RECEIVING PLEASURE FROM WATHCING YOU DIE!!). For the final song, Brett introduced original Malevolent guitarist Jim Nickles who stood in for Gio on the song that started it all! With Jim, Brett said we now have 3 original members on stage, which provided a very cool old school vibe. This was the first time Jim was playing with Malevolent in 25 years, how awesome is that?!? Pit was insane during the final song with bodies flying and I knew I’d be paying for it the next day!
After the show I also talked to Mortician’s Will Rahmer, who was there selling merch. Cool guy, like a real life Wolverine, don’t piss him off! I had met him back in ’96 at a gig in Bethlehem PA and he was cool to us then, looks a little different now but personality wise he hasn’t changed at all.
In the aftermath of Malevolent’s destruction, I was blown away, exhausted but ecstatic at the same time! Malevolent is way too good not to have a record deal and they really should be playing much bigger venues. Brett told me the band was close to a new record deal and they were working on a new album which would be out soon. That’s brutal music to my fucking ears! Can’t wait until the next tour! Catch these death metal godfathers when they come to your town to incinerate it! NO ONE CAN DESTROY THIS MALEVOLENT CREEEEEAAAAAATTTTTIIIIIOOONNNN!!!!
2. Multiple Stab Wounds
3. Coronation of Our Domain
4. To Die is at Hand
6. Eve of the Apocalypse
7. Blood Brothers
8. Born Again Hard
9. The Will To Kill
10. Living in Fear
11. Homicidal Rant
12. Manic Demise
13. Infernal Desire
14. Malevolent Creation
*The Oklahoma Drill is a college football drill where two players square off and knock the shit out of each other until one submits or the coach blows the whistle. Many college programs have banned it due to concussions.