MALEVOLENT CREATION — Retribution (review)

MALEVOLENT CREATION — Retribution album cover Album · 1992 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
One way that I have been becoming acquainted with extreme metal bands is by checking out playlists on YouTube, such as those with titles like “Top 25 Black Metal Songs” or “Top 50 Old School Death Metal Albums”. Along the way, I see some bands and albums showing up two or three times, and that’s when I take notice. Let’s check these guys out! One such band was Malevolent Creation.

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Malevolent Creation moved to Florida to join the fledging death metal scene. Interesting. Blonde beach babe California gives us thrash metal (well, okay, that was hippy-dippy peacenik San Francisco) and the Sunshine State gives us death metal. As for Malevolent Creation, their albums “The Ten Commandments” and “Retribution” both show up on some of those compilation lists. The CD was a little on the expensive side but the re-release on Listenable Records was labeled as an essential album, so I knew I couldn’t be wrong.

After the first listen though, I recognized that this was nothing new to my ears. It’s not because I had heard the band before until recently but that their style of music and vocals was already familiar to me. Basically, this album reminds me of Slayer’s “Hell Awaits” and Kreator’s “Pleasure to Kill”, even though I haven’t heard those albums for over 25 years (two future purchases have been concretely decided by this album here!). This is not the first old school death metal album to make me think so either. In fact, I am beginning to conclude that both Slayer and Kreator were both key influences in the early American death metal scene. There are times when I felt that some songs on “Retribution” had been inspired after learning to play Slayer songs, and the vocals gruff and barked were an attempt to bring Kreator’s vocal style to the States.

These observations don’t make this a bad album. Actually, I quite like it. It is this heavier-than-thrash and more-brutal-than-thrash sound that I enjoy. The production is rather good with each instrument audible and yet all instruments and vocals are united in a smooth, warm sphere of sound. It’s not lo-fi but it’s not crystal sharp either. The production suits the music.

Though I have no real complaints, this album cannot be a favourite of mine because except for the opening track, which plays more like an atmosphere-setting instrumental or B-movie score, all the rest of the songs just blast their way through. Song after song delivers a relentless, brutal assault with little time to slow down and drop and monster riff or throw a wild dive-bombing guitar solo at us unexpectedly. Each song becomes predictable because it uses the same formula and the previous one. Yes, the album is great to listen to from front to back but there are no standout tracks for me. And, yes, I have listened to it only twice but I got the same impression from this as I did from Morbid Angel’s “Alter of Madness”: it’s an obvious link between thrash metal and what would become of death metal.

No regrets on the money spent. A good history lesson and a good listen.
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more than 2 years ago
Vim, I actually have $100 NZ.

UMUR, I like it, but I can't say any one track stands out as being totally spine-chilling.

UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I own this one on both vinyl and CD. My favorite is the debut, but this one is great too.
Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
"The CD was a little on the expensive side..." I have this in vinyl, which I picked up for $10. Last time I checked, it was selling for over $100 on Discogs (that's NZ dollars, which is Monopoly money, but still...)


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