In an era where feminine guys in their little sister’s skinny jeans regularly enjoy listening to Kerrang!‘s newest eyeliner-wearing generic pop-punk band, there is hope. Ever since ‘Serpents Chokehold’ and its accompanying video reared its ugly head earlier this year, Sheffied’s Malevolence have taken the UK by storm and it’d be a crime to say their debut LP ‘Reign Of Suffering’ was anything but highly anticipated.
The band’s unique brand of metalcore features thrashy riffs straight out of Machine Head‘s back catalogue, classic rock riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on ‘Led Zeppelin II’ (no, really) and beatdowns and slams that’d sound right at home on a Devourment record, all pulled together by a technical flair that separates them from other bands out there. From album opener, ‘In The Face Of Death’, it’s obvious the band is a competent unit, because ‘Reign Of Suffering’ is tight as shit. Even the more technical sections are delivered with a precision to be admired, all pulled together by some absolutely stellar drum work.
‘Reign Of Suffering’ has its strong points: ‘Serpents Chokehold’ is nearly perfect (if only it wasn’t for the hideously awkward breakdown) and the intro riff is definitely a strong contender for the Best Riff of 2013 award. The classic rock riff about a third of the way through ‘Condemned To Misery’ is absolutely fantastic too, and the re-recording of ‘Wraith’ shows drummer Charlie Thorpe at his absolute best.
Really, the band’s appeal stops there, as their downfall is their inability to write anything particularly memorable aside from the tracks already mentioned. Sure, there are riffs absolutely everywhere, nobody’s disputing that, but the beatdowns and the exotic riffs with a Jimmy Page tinge all end up blending into one another and nothing in particular stands out. Is it because the band don’t possess the skills to write a solid half-hour of music that keeps a listener’s attention throughout? Perhaps.
The band’s weakest moment is definitely the seven-and-a-half minute long ‘Turn To Stone’. Though some may praise the attempt to write a song that actually has an emotion other than anger and disgust, it’s a slow affair that just drags and drags. It relies far too heavily on repetition and doesn’t go anywhere interesting. The album’s only thirty-five minutes too, so if the longer song is to break up the ‘br00tality’ of the previous tracks, it’s completely redundant, as ‘Reign Of Suffering’ isn’t long enough to cause listeners to lose interest.
For a first release though, it’s very coherent and, for the most part, focussed throughout. With that being said, it’s not fully worthy of the praise it receives, but that doesn’t mean you should write them off just yet. If the band tightens their act for their next LP, big things lay ahead for the young metallers.
Written by Jack Boaden
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.