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3.75 | 3 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2019


01. End the Torture (5:16)
02. Mandatory Butchery (4:14)
03. Agony for the Chosen (3:39)
04. Canvas of Flesh (4:28)
05. Born of Pain (6:51)
06. The Beast Awakened (3:49)
07. Decimated (4:33)
08. Bleed Us Free (3:13)
09. Knife at Hand (3:56)
10. Trapped Inside (3:56)
11. Release the Soul (5:31)

Total Time 49:26


- Phil Fasciana / Guitars
- Josh Gibbs / Bass
- Philip Cancilla / Drums
- Lee Wollenschlaeger / Guitars, Vocals

About this release

Century Media Records,
January 18th, 2019

Thanks to Nightfly for the addition and Vim Fuego for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"The 13th Beast" is as the title suggests the 13th full-length studio album by US death metal act Malevolent Creation. The album was released through Century Media Records in January 2019. It´s the successor to "Dead Man's Path" from 2015. There have been several lineup changes since the release of the predecessor, as bassist Jason Blachowicz has been replaced by Josh Gibbs, guitarist Gio Geraca and lead vocalist Brett Hoffmann have been replaced by Lee Wollenschlaeger (who handles both lead vocals and guitars on the album), and drummer Justin DiPinto has been replaced by Philip Cancilla, leaving guitarist and founding member Phil Fasciana the sole remaining member of the lineup who recorded "Dead Man's Path (2015)".

Malevolent Creation has always been Fasciana´s child, so lineup changes (and there have been a lot of lineup changes over the years) or not, "The 13th Beast" still sounds unmistakably like Malevolent Creation. Energetic and aggressive death metal with brutal thrash metal leanings. Uncompromising and featuring very few melodic elements and easily accessible hooks. The pace is predominantly fast, but there are both mid-paced and a few blasting sections featured on the album too. So good...

...while Fasciana has been the driving force behind the band and has held the flag high since the formation of the band in 1987, which has ensured stylistic continuety and a relatively stabile quality level of the band´s output, there have been both excellent releases and less remarkable ones in the band´s discography. Most of the excellent ones feature Brett Hoffmann on vocals. Hoffmann was the lead vocalist in Malevolent Creation in the periods 1987-1993, 1998-2001, and 2006-2016 (he sadly died of colon cancer in July 2018) and his unique raw semi-growling vocal style provided the band´s music with something special, which made them stand out on the scene. Including Wollenschlaeger the band have at this point had three other lead vocalists than Hoffmann, and none of them have been able to lift the heavy heritage of the iconic frontman. Every time Hoffmann has been out of the band, they have lost that special thing which made them stand out, and unfortunately that´s also the case on "The 13th Beast".

Don´t get me wrong here though because Wollenschlaeger gets the job done and he is not a bad growler. His performance here is just pretty standard for the genre and after a couple of tracks feels a bit one-dimensional. It has the effect that not many tracks stand out or are particularly memorable beyond the album´s playing time. So it´s the kind of album which is enjoyable enough while it plays but soon forgotten after it ends. It´s a quality release on most other parameters as both the musicianship and the sound production are of good quality, but viewed along the other albums in the band´s discography, "The 13th Beast" is among their less remarkable ones. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.
It was very sad news last year when it was announced that Malevolent Creation vocalist Brett Hoffmann had passed away after a battle with colon cancer. The 13th Beast, their 13th studio album naturally, comes only 6 months after his passing suggesting that the current line-up was already in place before his death. There’s been plenty of musicians through the ranks of Malevolent Creation over the years and there’s a completely new line-up here since 2015’s Dead Man’s Path with original guitarist Phil Fasciana the only person left.

Fortunately as is immediately apparent on opener End The Torture that it doesn’t seem to have made a lot of difference to the overall sound of the band. The 13th Beast continues their tradition of aggressive Death metal with thrash overtones. It’s all pretty full on relentless stuff with only occasional dips in tempo but the albums stuffed with great riffs preventing any feeling of monotony setting in. You’ll find a few less than stellar albums in the bands mid-period but the last few albums have all hit the spot for me and The 13th Beast follows suit and is as good as anything they’ve released in the last 10 years to my ears. Whilst few songs particularly stand out this is more a mark of the overall quality than any particular weakness in any of them though End The Torture and The Beast Awakened may just be my pick of the bunch for no other reason than the strength of the guitar riffs.

All the new guys do the name justice and play really well with drummer Philip Cancilla being particularly impressive with his dexterity on the usual array of blast beats, fast fills and speedy double kick patterns. New vocalist Lee Wollenschlaeger, who’s also on guitar, has a lower register than Hoffmann and more one dimensional in his delivery but is certainly an adequate replacement.

No great surprises here then but Malevolent Creation’s reputation thankfully remains intact with a great death metal album to get the year off to a good start.

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