Malevolence - 11.11.2023, London, UK
|Malevolence: Malicious Intent European Tour 2023
I'm back it once again; the gigs start coming, and they don't stop coming, to the pit, I hit the ground running... ahem, I what I meant to say was, just a week after Damnation Festival, I was once again at a gig, this time to see Britain's fastest rising band post-Covid, Malevolence. If there was one band that has exploded in popularity since the world briefly went into hibernation a few years ago, it is Malevolence, a band who have gone from being the underground's best kept secret, to being given pride of place on a stacked bill making its way around the UK and Europe. Tonight's sold-out show would mark the band's largest headlining show in the UK to date, and one that capped off another strong year for the band.
It's easy to be swept up in the hype for the headliner alone, but they are merely the cherry atop a stacked line-up, one that was an immediate purchase when it was announced all those months ago. With the day of the show coming round seemingly in the blink of an eye, I was up and ready for a night of hardcore havoc.
Arriving at the venue slightly later than planned owing to the nearest tube station being shut, and a cramped underground owing to it being a busy day in London (I'll let you Google why), I missed half of Justice For The Damned's set and found the venue already heaving.
Justice For The Damned 19:00-19:30
Not a benefit show for Captain Sensible and co
Luckily for me, I wasn't overly bothered about seeing Justice For The Damned, so when I caught the tail end of their set, it was a decent enough sampler to know I hadn't missed too much. Thankfully for the group, I was clearly in the minority, as the already packed venue’s attendees were enjoying themselves, whipped in a frenzy of limbs and long hair. Though I was to find the band weren't the worst part of the gig, as looking at the bar prices, one pint of beer is now £7.95?!
Guilt Trip 19:45-20:15
Also known as a conversation with the parents
Moving forward into the front section of the venue in anticipation for the rest of the show, it became clear just how packed the venue was, with moving around being a case of ducking and weaving between tightly grouped attendees. Still, I managed to find a space that offered a good view and awaited my first must see band of the evening.
Arriving after a brisk 15-minute changeover, Manchester hardcore crew Guilt Trip walked on stage to a deafening roar from the crowd and kicked immediately into gear with one of many cuts off of this year's (contender for hardcore album of the year) Severance. With the audience already well versed in songs barely two months old, the band needed to do little to incite the audience to mosh and sing along enthusiastically; "Surrounded By Pain" got the audience bouncing to a point that those who didn't join in were left off balance by the momentum. While the mix was a bit muddy, it didn't stop the audience covering for the drop in vocals, particularly during "Sweet Dreams". It's rare that a new album can take up such a chunk of a set that when the band move onto their classic cuts (which didn't include "Forked Tongue", to my disappointment) it feels seamless, with all the tracks celebrated rather than just tolerated.
If you like hardcore and you have a chance to catch them, I highly recommend taking that chance.
Guilt Trip setlist:
01. Fallen At My Feet
02. Surrounded By Pain
03. Sweet Dreams
04. Eyes Wide Shut
06. Guilt Trip
07. Tearing Your Life Away
09. Broken Wings
10. Thin Ice
Making the square peg fit in the round hole
With only a further 15 minutes to catch your breath (or a beer if you're made of money), Syolosis emerged to an initial thin audience that quickly filled out as people rushed back from the bar to the pit. While the band seemed a square peg in a round hole when looking at the line up, the reception the band received showed that their place on the bill was justified.
With the quick changeover resulting in it taking a bit to get the sound on point, once the sound hit the sweet spot, Sylosis were on top form, though nobody told the audience as large pits broke out from the off. Leaning heavily into their post-reunion material, the band emphasized the groove and bouncy parts in tracks like "Cycle Of Suffering" and "A Sign Of Things To Come" to play to the audience and maximise moshability (come Oxford English, put it in the dictionary), to which the crowd responded to in kind. Josh Middleton has grown into the frontman role, with his confidence and charisma making itself felt, balancing his role a guitarist with calls to make the pit bigger or more energetic.
While the mid-set deviation to the two representative tracks of their original run as a band was welcomed, it served only to give me a small taste of what I had been missing; hopefully the band throw in a few more old cuts for future shows. With "Deadwood" getting a thunderous reception, it also signalled their last track of the night. Sylosis may be moving in a slightly different direction post reunion, but given the reception tonight, it's one that will likely reward the band handsomely (sorry to say Matt).
01. Poison For The Lost
03. I Sever
04. Cycle Of Suffering
05. Blackest Skyline
06. Sands Of Time
07. A Sign Of Things To Come
08. Worship Decay
What a minute, this isn't maleficent... they lied to us through song
While a sizeable chunk of the audience had run to the bar to grab a quick beer before Sylosis, it seemed nobody wanted to risk their spot this time around, as most stood cramped in place awaiting tonight's headliners. The rise of Malevolence has been one of a slow burn that turned into a sudden meteoric rise, with the band experiencing a career upswing akin to a space rocket in the last three years. Managing to keep the momentum going with each successive career step, tonight proved to be another milestone that will be looked at by the band as yet another stepping stone onto bigger things.
As sirens blared, the band marched on stage with a defiant swagger and launched into a trio of tracks before even acknowledging the crowd (who had taken it upon themselves to sing every word and move like maniacs). I had to retreat back as the mosh pits grew to a size that being at the front and not in the pit meant being too tightly packed in for my own comfort. This also had the added benefit of getting out of range of the flying beer cups that people were launching across the venue; whoever could afford to waste beer like that please find me next time, you could buy me a pint or two. Taking a breather, the band showed their humility and gratitude for the position they find themselves in, before the shouty sons of Sheffield launched into a slightly slower number in "Still Waters Run Deep". Not your typical sing-along anthem, "Self Supremacy" found the crowd singing nearly every word to what has to be a hardcore anthem of the age.
Malevolence, unsurprisingly, had the best sound of the night, with the clear, crunchy tones shining through from the off, allowing cuts like "Remain Unbeaten" and "Karma" to burn brightly and hit hard. After a surprisingly strong drum solo, the band returned to a hero’s welcome with an encore of two modern classics in "Keep Your Distance" and a rapturous "On Broken Glass", which saw the audience find whatever reserves they had and let it go in one last burst of energy. As the band took their leave, the audience were left to pick up the broken pieces of what were their bodies, and drag themselves towards the exit having spent themselves empty in the pit... and at the bar (yes, I'm not letting that go).
01. Malicious Intent
02. Life Sentence
03. Waste Of Myself
04. Still Waters Run Deep
05. Above All Else
06. Self Supremacy
07. Higher Place
08. Serpent's Chokehold
09. Condemned To Misery
10. Remain Unbeaten
11. Turn To Stone
12. Wasted Breath
14. Keep Your Distance
15. On Broken Glass
With what may likely go down as a "I was there" moment in the band's history, Malevolence took another forward leap in their career progression and solidified the success that Malicious Intent has brought them. Tonight proved to be the fix of hardcore that I needed, seeing three bands support three great latest albums; it's rare that the stars align in such a fashion. It will be interesting to see where each group goes from here.......
|Written on 22.11.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.
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