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MALEVOLENT CREATION has always been one of metal’s most consistent and reliable acts. While many bands and trends have come and gone, mainman Phil Fasciana and his cohorts have never wavered or lost sight of what keeps real metal true, and the band’s intent is more than apparent on the band’s latest, Doomsday X. Returning to the fold are vocalist Brett Hoffmann, bassist Jason Blachowicz and guitarist Jon Rubin, who each bring renewed vigor to the proceedings and some extra firepower that was somewhat missing on the band’s past few releases. “Culture of Doubt,” “Buried in a Nameless Grave” and “Bio-Terror” all efficiently provide ample amounts of blasting speed. But the band also knows when to pull back, settling in to a driving, relentless groove as on the catchy “Deliver My Enemy.” The instrumental “Prelude to Doomsday” also showcases the band’s considerable chops and their ability to navigate tricky arrangements with seemingly relative ease. It’s interesting to note that Doomsday X is one of the few albums this year that actually gets faster as the album unfolds with the last four tracks serving as a virtual how-to guide on fast, punishing death metal. There’s also an old school vibe running throughout the album with the band bringing back some of the energy that made many of the mid to late 90’s death metal albums classics. This is not a case of dated nostalgia, but simply a band successfully capturing a feeling of the past and molding it with the vitality and precision of modern day metal, creating a new classic for both the legacy and future of death metal. (Nuclear Blast Records)