Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Malevolent Creation - Envenomed

Malevolent Creation - Envenomed
2000, Pavement/Arctic Records

Something tells me that Dave Culross is probably happiest when in the middle of an extended blast beat - his arms locking up, muscles aching, his foot about to drop off, etc. I'm guessing that he gets that 'far away look' in his eyes when he launches into those kinds of beats - he has a few to draw on, all at hyperspeeds - and he makes them sound so effortless and relaxed that you can picture him in a sort of trance while his limbs are flailing, i.e. feeling perfectly at home. This album is yet another showcase for his drumming ability, a level of talent which has quickly placed him at the forefront (along with D. Roddy) of timekeepers in the American death metal scene. For whatever reason, after days and days of listening to black metal or 'atmospheric doom' or such things, an album like this really just hits the spot. There are no excuses on this thing: it's not claiming a certain political position or trying to create a movement aimed for or against anything, it's not aligned with x or inveterately opposed to y, etc. It just comes in to maim and kill, like a reaping machine, and doesn't offer any illusions to the contrary. At certain times I just need to listen to a good death metal album...today (and maybe tomorrow) this will do...

This band has been around for a very long time now...I have no idea how old these guys are at this point in time, some of them (vocalist Hoffman and bassist Simms) seem to have aged more than the others, but I remember their demo material, their first album, the admitted-classic second attack 'Retribution' that solidified once and for all the 'pure' Florida death metal sound (a style that bands like Vader later seized on and pushed to even further extremes), and their following releases with something that approaches respect, if not admiration. I haven't been the biggest fan of this band over the years, but I would never claim that they didn't know what they were doing - no, with Malevolent Creation it's rather the case of wondering where they can take their sound and ideas in the future. Frankly, I am amazed they have been able to record so many albums without really changing that much...I believe they have regressed, actually. This album doesn't even come close to matching the technical display of 'Retribution' or their debut LP, but I also know they don't care about such things anymore...I am sure that at the end of the day they just want to write good, solid, brutal death metal songs and not worry about anything else. Fine.

What I'm trying to say is this: if you have heard their material in the past, nothing here is going to surprise you, except maybe for the 'far-looking' black metal melodicism on display in the third song, 'Kill Zone', and some of the thrashier moments on this disc, which seem to be throwbacks to the guitar-playing styles that these guys probably grew up listening to - but which they, so far, seem to have transcended. This album is all about very fast rhythm riffs, an odd schizophrenic solo every now and then, and the human drum machine, Culross, reaching towards Nirvana by snapping his sticks off the snare at blinding speeds. Good, solid, honest, working man's Florida death metal...you know what it sounds like...