The ever-revolving door of different band members on each album continues with the death metal veterans’ 11th studio album, Invidious Dominion. MALEVOLENT CREATION welcomes back original bassist Jason Blachowicz, and long time friend/collaborator Gus Rios is brought into the fold as the permanent drummer. As long as main songwriter/guitarist Phil Fasciana is around, the SLAYER-influenced thrash/death metal style that MALEVOLENT is known for will always be there.
“United Hate” thrusts the album into motion with comparisons to 2000’s Envenomed album immediately coming into mind. Vocalist Brett Hoffman’s vocals are in strong form, enunciating all the words, while retaining the raspy, unique voice he’s known for. The vocal patterns are kept simple and catchy, and fans of former drummer Dave Culross need not to worry as Rios emulates his predecessor’s style to a T.
Invidious Dominion includes decent tracks such as “Slaughter House” and “Target Rich Environment” but overall, everything sounds more like a continuation of their last few albums. While certainly not expecting amazing riffs as found on their landmark album, Retribution, MALEVOLENT plays it safe by sticking to their meat and potatoes formula with decent riffing and fast drumming, but nothing that distinguishes them from their earlier work.
Hoffman’s lyrics, while simple, revolve around real life events which happen around the world and not the juvenile lyrics Blachowicz came up with when he was fronting the group. “Born Again Hard” and “Corruptor” displays the post In Cold Blood era MALEVOLENT sound but it’s something we’ve heard before in their previous efforts. The title track closes everything out with Hoffman’s trademark extended yell, which is a pleasant surprise to know he’s still got it together.
While one must applaud MALEVOLENT’s longevity and the fact that they are still unleashing some furious and violent metal, anyone can almost predict what the album will sound like without listening to a note on the album, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, nothing interesting comes out of it. Invidious Dominion is not a bad effort in any way, but at the end of the day, there are other albums that are more interesting. (Nuclear Blast Records)