Malefice - VOver the last decade Reading’s Malefice have consistently delivered high quality metal, constantly evolving without compromising on their core sound and philosophy. Their new album follows this path and again moves the band on in terms of sound and approach. Another band to have successfully used the crowdfunding approach, this is their first album under their new deal with the fine folk at Transcend Music.

The albums opens with title track ‘V’ which kicks straight off and sets the mood for the rest of the seven tracks on offer here. They have managed to combine the heavier sound they have had throughout all of their albums whilst adding more and more melody with each album, and this one pushes them a little further in that direction. ‘The Great Deceiver’ follows, and is evidence of this approach. This is the kind of song you could imagine getting rotation throughout radio and TV, as it features a really strong melodic line and clean vocals whilst Ben Symons and Andrew Wilson keep the riffs coming thick and fast.

For me ‘Wasted’ was probably the most instantly accessible track on the album, with its anthemic chorus which will get any crowd singing along just before Dale Butler’s order of “Let’s get fucked up!” brings in an almighty pit opening breakdown. A certainty to be a live favourite. If you have followed Malefice through their career, you will know they do like to intersperse the noise with the occasional instrumental. ‘Time’ is a slow burning five minute instrumental which builds up in a slow crescendo from piano lead start through the introduction of the rest of the band before slowly dying away again. ‘Reach Up’ closes the album and the most reminiscent of their older albums, being that little bit heavier and faster than the rest. A fine way to end a decent album.

The band have come along way in terms of sound over the course of their five releases, and whilst I still prefer their earlier offerings, there is still plenty to like about the latest chapter in their career. This is a very strong release and one which should grow the bands fanbase, without alienating to many of their older listeners. The production is clean and even though the band might not be as full on heavy as they were in the past, the haven’t lost any of the intensity. Even the more melodic parts are done in a similar way to Fear Factory, still remaining heavy lead by the precise drums of Chris Allan-Whyte. ‘Blueprints’ is evidence of this, as Chris and bassist Tom Hynes drive an heavy yet precise path through the more melodic parts of the album, and manage to add more bludgeoning power to the other end of the scale.

A relatively short album coming in at just a shade under half an hour long, but it is good to hear something that doesn’t outstay it welcome or add gratuitous filler material. Well worth picking up, following on from Earthtone9, it’s great to see another British band doing good things and progressing.

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