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Malevolent Creation, who formed in Buffalo, New York in 1986 initially as Resthaven, is one of the old guards and an institution of the USDM scene. They are one of the most resilient, hard working and constantly suffering bands on the global metal scene. Unlike many of their peers Malevolent Creation never bucked to trends or backed down in the wake of strife, tribulation and difficulties, internally or externally. Phil Fasciana continues to forge onward and his perseverance has paid off dividends on ‘Dead Man’s Path’.

‘Dead Man’s Path’ is the band’s twelfth (12) record, not counting the numerous compilations and live recordings that litter the band’s extensive discography, and they only seem to get more proficient, precise and finely honed with age. Malevolent Creation has existed in a multitude of reconfigurations over the years with varying levels of success and differing amounts of original members through out each variation of the unit. ‘Dead Man’s Path’ is the first album with Justin DiPinto (drums) since 2002’s ‘The Will to Kill’. That ‘Dead Man’s Path’ sounds like a spiritual successor to ‘The Will to Kill’ seems only logical with DiPinto making his return to the fold.

Having survived Roadrunner Records’ signing-and-dumping spree of the early and late 1990s, respectively – and stints on Pavement Music, Arctic Music Group and Nuclear Blast Records in the intervening years – ‘Dead Man’s Path’ is the band’s debut for new contractor Century Media Records. Fixture through out all of the band’s iterations is guitarist Phil Fasciana. Since 2007 the line-up has stabilized with the return of both frontman Brett Hoffmann and bass guitarist Jason Blachowicz. With their share of legendary skinsmen (Lee Harrison, Alex Marquez, Larry HawkeDave Culross, Derek Roddy, and Tony Laureano, to name the most prominent) the return to Justin DiPinto now has Malevolent Creation closer to one of its earlier incarnations with its membership.

Age has not dulled Malevolent Creation

The title track is an unexpected ominous, slow creeping doom dirge with Hoffmann narrating. It is a stylistic callback to Memorial Arrangements from 1991’s seminal ‘The Ten Commandments’. Slayer is still the band’s primary influence, this becomes especially apparent on songs as Soul Razer, Extinction Personified, and Resistance Is Victory. Brett Hoffmann was never a traditional grunter, and he has gotten only more blood-curdling and lashing with age. His piercing, agonized screeches and shrieks are in fine form. The leads and solos are stellar as always, in particular on Imperium (Kill Force Rising), Corporate Weaponry, Blood Of the Fallen, Fragmental Sanity and Face Your Fear. 12th Prophecy is the kind of songtitle you’d expect of UK warmongers Bolt Thrower. Unlike Deicide, Malevolent Creation never became a caricature of itself, or its genre – instead they persevered through hardship and became even more focused, sharpened and determined in their deadliness in the process.

For its Century Media debut Malevolent Creation kept recordings in-house as much as possible. As such the vocals were recorded at Shredly Studios in North Tonawanda, New York with with former member Jim Nickles producing. The lead/rhythm guitars and bass guitar were laid down at S.B.S. Recording Studios in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with Julian Hollowell (Hateplow), and Mike Gallo producing. The drums were recorded at Geller Celler Studios in Mahopac, New York with Eliot Geller producing. ‘Dead Man’s Path’ was mixed and mastered at Unisound Studio in Örebro, Sweden by Dan Swäno. The deluxe edition of ‘Dead Man’s Path’ comes with two exclusive bonus tracks in the form of re-recorded versions from 1993’s divisive ‘Stillborn’ album, specifically Carnivorous Misgivings and Dominated Resurgency.

After having worked with Dan Seagrave, David Bollt, Travis Smith, Mircea Gabriel Eftemie, and Pär Olofsson the positively stunning artwork for this recording was rendered by Chilean tattoo artist German Latorres. Almost thirty years, and twelve albums deep, into its career Malevolent Creation still knows how to vary up its, admittedly, derivative but completely concrete assault in new and exciting ways. There’s only one band that sounds like Malevolent Creation, and that’s Malevolent Creation. What it lacks in innovation the record compensates with concise songwriting and unabashed primal pummeling. Imitators and competitors have come and gone, but those specializing in The Fine Art Of Murder have survived. The Will to Kill is stronger than ever. The Warkult is very much alive…

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‘Dead Man’s Path’ proves conclusively that age has not dulled Malevolent Creation in the slightest. Along with famous peers as Cannibal Corpse, Incantation, and Monstrosity, it is testament to the enduring power of traditionally inclined death metal. No longer continually fluxuating Malevolent Creation has seen the ups and downs in being one of the few remaining original American death metal bands. True to their original mission statement Malevolent Creation has been far more consistent than most, and as such remain as relevant, and obliterating, as ever before. This is a band that takes no prisoners, and doesn’t pretend to be anything else than what it is. Gritty, sadistic, and mean ‘Dead Man’s Path’ is anything but the end of the line for these grizzled men. Unlike their inspirations Slayer they indeed kill again, with every album, consistently.

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Wouter Roemers Wouter Roemers is a self-professed elitist, music critic, and death metal purist from Belgium. Known for his outspokenness and frank opinions on all things metal, bands and industry alike. Proprietor of Least Worst Option where he spends inordinate amount of time analyzing records three people care about.