Crossing the Thrashold: Malevolent Force
Greetings and salutations, flushers.
How does one go about finding new bands? You have band in mind and you search for similar bands via Metal Archives or YouTube or Last F.M., correct? That’s how I go about it when I have time in between mercenary jobs. But lately I’ve been going the Tyree route and just randomly skimming the wastelands of Bandcamp for some good music. Who would’ve thought that by doing this I would find not only a good thrash band, but a band who released my first favorite thrash album of 2015? Not this guy, but it happened. So today we’re going to talk about the Houston, Texas foursome Malevolent Force and how they knocked me on my ass.
Malevolent Force formed in 2009 and currently consists of Joshua Ross Ho’opi’i on bass and lead vocals, Stephan Trejo on guitar and backing vocals, Camilo Picaz on lead guitar, and Josue Barraza on drums. They have one demo called Rhapsody of Evil released in 2012, and just last month released a killer full length entitled Descent into the Abyss. Seriously, the last full length debut from a thrash oriented band that impressed me this much was Orator’s Kapalgnosis. That’s awfully good company to have.
Let’s get this out of the way now, flushkateers. Malevolent Force isn’t going to be winning the honorary Voivod/Vektor Award for Innovative Thrash Riffs and Song Structure (Yes I came up with that myself.). They wear the influences of Kreator and Dark Angel on their leatherbound sleeves. That’s kind of par for the course for modern thrash and frankly, if I hear one more thrash hipster (“WAAAH THIS BAND SOUNDS LIKE KILL EM ALL/PLEASURE TO KILL/REIGN IN BLOOD/BENEATH THE REMAINS THEY SUCK WAAAAHHH”) make this complaint I’m going to personally hunt him down and tear out his larynx with my bare hands. The band rips faces clean off, and you can’t tell me otherwise.
What Malevolent Force possess that many of their ilk lack is a passion for the riff. There is no tongue-in-cheek ironic posturing or party and pizza thrash crap that so many thrash bands try to do now (even though D.R.I, Lawnmower Deth, and Bomb Disneyland all did it far better decades ago). These guys clearly love thrash and give no fucks about any nonsense claims of “re-thrash”. They just want to get the pit going and down some beers afterwards. Third track “Call of the Blades” has a mid paced swing that takes up most of of the song and could have been a worthy b-side to Leave Scars. “Bound in Eternal Torment” is Pleasure to Kill wrapped in a tasty Tex-Mex serving (fuck a Taco Bell). Honestly, a more relevant comparison would be to underrated Japanese thrashers King’s Evil. Both bands have the same unwavering dedication to the riff and and a similar tendency to take things to 11 to the point where you could probably push mosh someone straight through a wall to their audio offerings.
The riffs (and drumming) are great of course, but what really impresses me about this band is Ross Ho’opi’i’s throat-shredding vocals. Petrozza influenced yes, but with an extra degree of rawness and venom which threatens to blow out the speakers and implode eardrums. This is combined with an even meatier nearly death metal growl, though I’m not sure whether that is him or guitarist Trejo. Either way they perfectly compliment the apocalyptic lyrics. And, in the middle of album highlight “After Earth”, there is a classic falsetto yell that would make fellow Texan Proscriptor McGovern proud. With a few exceptions, modern thrash vocals are hit and miss, but this dude’s screams very much help the band stand out amongst the endless Hetfield bellows and crossover-based whiny yelling.
Until next time, mosh and be well.