I Declare War breaks through with its first album on the newly formed Artery Recordings, Malevolence. If anyone knows anything about I Declare War, its that they tend to ‘bring the heavy’ as some might say…and that is definitely the case with this record. This album doesn’t fuck around in the slightest. No catchy chorus, no synth breakdown, just really, really heavy music. To say it bluntly, Malevolence is really fucking brutal.
The album begins with the ruthless instrumental title track ‘Malevolence’. The isolated bass riff in the middle of the song gives us a taste of what to expect throughout the album – a raw, heavy, unrelenting intensity that will kick you in the nuts if mind begins to wander. Malevolence is a straightforward representation of deathcore, both the good and bad aspects of the genre. While vocalist Jonathan Huber’s growls are excellent in their own right, his lack of variation of tone begins to wear on your ears.
Although the album is overall a breakdown chugfest, I felt as if the subtle technical guitar work and drumming made the repetitiveness not as overwhelming. I Declare War has a substantial amount of breakdowns, teetering on the edge of over-saturation, but they are all heavy and fun as shit. Don’t take this album for something it’s not. Malevolence is straightforward and heavy. I Declare War aren’t breaking any new ground on Malevolence; they are taking what people already like about the genre and doing it right.
My personal favorite track is “Purification of the Population” which starts with a melodic riff that pulls you into a sea of blast beats, double-bass and open-stringed chuggage which turns into one of the best breakdowns on the album. This three and a half minute monster has enough power to get any fan of the genre moving, and any haters to cover their ears and swear. A close second is the closing track “Fractions” which I feel is the most mature song on the album. With solid breakdowns, technical riffs and a melodic interlude, the song showcases everything that makes the bad worth listening to. Not to mention the outro-fade is sick. If their next album has more songs like “Fractions” then I Declare War will be more of a force to reckon with than they have already established themselves to be.
As a debut album, Malevolence has launched I Declare War into the forefront of the deathcore genre, crushing the flippy haired, synchronized stage-moving bands that over-saturate the scene. I Declare War are here, and we are listening.