Tuesday, 10 April 2012

MALEVOLENT CREATION - The Ten Commandments (1991)

01  Memorial Arrangements
02  Premature Burial
03  Remnants Of Withered Decay
04  Multiple Stab Wounds
05  Impaled Existence
06  Thou Shall Kill!
07  Sacrificial Annihilation
08  Decadence Within
09  Injected Sufferage
10  Malevolent Creation

When Malevolent Creation released The Ten Commandments on April 24th 1991, death metal had already been blossoming for several years. Death, Obituary and Cannibal Corpse were cracking skulls all over the USA, while Cynic and Atheist began to get technical and progressive with their delivery. The music that Malevolent Creation let loose was more in the style of the former group of bands: an unashamed battering of double bass drums and noisy guitar riffs.

I’ve heard Malevolent Creation being called “death metal’s Slayer”. While I think this comparison isn’t exactly genius, the only similarity I will willingly admit lies with the guitars. To get it out of the way, the solos are frantic, but nothing more – a bit better than with Slayer, though. However, guitarists Phil Fasciana and and Jeff Juszkiewicz just had the knack for simple but effective riffs that still sound complete. Unlike Deicide, they don’t have to rely on complicated twists and turns, as they manage to let the simple stuff flow marvelously. I couldn’t name you the stand-alone riff of the album, but they all work so well with the rest of the music it’s hard to imagine the outcome any better. As for the vocals, Bret Hoffmann sounds like no-one else with his unmatched, intense frantic screams and a style that is often incomprehensible just because of its sheer speed. Despite being in a death metal band, he doesn’t grunt at all, but keeps the pitch rather normal, just using a raspy tone. The fast vocal patterns fit the underlying music like a glove, often at the expense of an intermediate syllable or five, but in that, Hoffmann adds a whole new layer to the already awesome musical melting pot. I understand his delivery might be polarizing because his vocals are different, but personally I think he's fantastic.

The Ten Commandments is a very American sounding death metal album. It manages an excitement level that seems to be a bit lacking in the genre today for some reason. Most will look past this album in favor of follow-up "Retribution" (which, don't get me wrong is an amazing release) and totally miss out on a landmark record. Sure, the band may sound premature compared to later records, but it is their sheer approach and attack that makes this an underrated gem. Highlights are; "Premature Burial", "Multiple Stab Wounds", "Thou Shall Kill" and "Malevolent Creation". It's safe to say that all of these "ten commandments" are worth respecting!

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