If you had even just a passing interest in hardcore or metal around 2013, you’ll remember Malevolence being a name that was difficult to avoid. Due to their chaotic shows and crossover masterclass Reign Of Suffering, the scene was suddenly filled with many a heavy music fan showing enthusiasm for them, by branding their merch or contributing a spin-kick or several at their shows. In 2017, it doesn’t seem like much has changed, with new album Self-Supremacy, providing new metallic hardcore bangers for fans to injure themselves to. However, as we had a chat with drummer Charlie Thorpe, it seems there have been more developments than one might initially think.
“If we were just another band with a cliché sound stuck in a specific scene, I think we’d all struggle to take it as seriously.”
When talking about how the band have changed in the four years between records ‘We turned from boys into men’ Thorpe laughs. However, the same transitions that make going into your early 20’s difficult for anyone, is extra stressful when balancing it with touring life as Malevolence go on to say ‘The point where we’d toured globally off the back of the debut album and needed to write new stuff was probably when we did the most growing up. We all had to hustle while “focussing” on the writing process, which proved more of a challenge than ever since the lot of us had more bills to pay etc.’
Malevolence’s signature sound has of course seen them skyrocket up the underground, yet Thorp also believes ‘it has held us back in a number of ways in the past.’ Whilst Malevolence have been pros at merging hardcore brutality and metal groove, their unstraightforward sound has meant things aren’t always smooth when it comes to shows. ‘It can be awkward when we simply don’t fit the bill, and need to win over a bigger band’s die-hard fans who aren’t particularly interested’ Thorp states.
However, their signature style is what’s kept them driven as Thorp goes on to say ‘If we were just another band with a cliché sound stuck in a specific scene, I think we’d all struggle to take it as seriously and passionately as we do. You have to believe in your own sound.’
Malevolence are clearly a band who should have no reason to doubt themselves. With Reign Of Suffering becoming an instant scene favourite upon release, it’s clear that bringing the best of both metal and hardcore to the table has more pros than cons for Malevolence. The band felt ‘immense pressure’ following their debut up ‘but I was sure we could top it cos I wasn’t at all finished with Reign of Suffering.’
‘When we sat down initially we struggled to find inspiration since we’d been straight touring for so long and out of the writing mind set.’ Ironically, it was touring that helped put the band back in the swing of things when writing as Thorp continues ‘we thought about where we left off with the last album and eventually the riffs starting flowing. Influence came from the bands we’d toured with.’
Self-Supremacy sees Malevolence embrace what makes them, them, even more. This record is such a whirlwind, putting you in the firmest groove with tough, drawling vocals that Sabbath would be proud to put their names to, one second, only to stampede you down with guttural screeches and barbaric swing the next. Its clear Malevolence are more satisfied than ever to be themselves.
“Don’t trust anyone in the industry. Do as much as you possibly can yourself.”
Despite the growth and successes Malevolence have gone through, it seems you can take the boys out of Sheffield, but can’t take Sheffield out of the boys as they still speak passionately about their hometown, the steel city. ‘Sheffield is great, you could say we’re proud, naturally. It’s a nice surprise these days that when you go down to a local show people are pitting and there’s usually a sick vibe. There are a bunch of old faces that still back it hard and for that I’m grateful.’
It’s refreshing to hear a band that have reached the highs Malevolence have still taking interest in local shows and that DIY spirit is another thing that’s given them strength. ‘Funding our whole record campaign DIY with no label was difficult, until BDHW stepped in last minute to put it out we had done it all ourselves, and we weren’t doing anything half arsed or cheap.’
You can’t blame Malevolence for wanting to do things their way, as it seems their relationship with Century Media Records, who distributed Reign Of Suffering, wasn’t a pleasant one. ‘I couldn’t tell you much about the industry’s current state however I know that with our debut album contract we signed something shady.’ Malevolence insist ‘there is still an ongoing battle to get the bottom of that contract and get Reign of Suffering repressed.’
‘Don’t trust anyone in the industry. Do as much as you possibly can yourself’ they are keen to state when it comes to advice for newer bands, however they don’t fully regret their time with previous labels, ‘we’d do the same again since those labels played an invaluable part of getting us off the ground back then when we were nothing and threw a heap of money at us.’
Having conquered both the metal and hardcore realms and managing to maintain their throne with a four-year gap between records, whilst going DIY, it seems the sky is the limit for Malevolence. So just what are their future ambitions for record no.3? ‘By then hopefully we will have toured Australia, Japan, South East Asia, South America, Spain, Portugal, probably the US again, and hopefully some more exotic and whacky places. We’ve just been offered a wicked main support slot for next February, so keep your eyes open.’
‘I personally just want to support Lamb of God then I can retire a happy man’ is today’s closing statement. Seemingly after everything Malevolence have achieved so far, they’re still hungry and still giddy about the possibilities being in a band opens up for you. It’s what’s got them this far and it’s what will see them rise further.
WORDS: MAX CUSSONS
The latest issue of Discovered Magazine is out now! You can get more information on it here.