Artist: Emerald Vale
Album: Malevolence (EP)
Step into the shoes of a mass murderer–explore the mind of a serial killer, for a moment. Wandering through boundless catacombs and twisting, turning mazes, retracing your steps and uncovering nothing but dead end after dead end, what is it you’ll really find? Somewhere between the haunting atmosphere, thoughts and fantasies of hate-fueled plots and plans and brutal, unrestrained aggression, you’ll find Malevolence. Not just the quality or mental state, and not just the propensity for malicious behavior, but, truly, Malevolence, the sophomore EP by Australian technical deathcore masters, Emerald Vale. Malevolence is one part sinister, haunting harmonies, one part sternum-crushing, brute-force anger and one part cunning, brilliant technicality. The result? A comprehensive, immersive work of art that showcases the closest thing to mastery any band could ever hope to achieve.
Malevolence opens like every sudden laceration or skin-splitting slice: with a blood rush. With a smooth, haunting build-up to pique the listener’s interest, “The Unspoken” spends just enough time sharpening its blade so it can effectively decapitate the listener. Once the true beast that is Emerald Vale’s EP is released, there is hardly any stopping it. Each track seems faster and more boundlessly aggressive than the last–whether it’s the sheer speed behind the drums in “Insincerity” or the furiously fretted riffs which line “Asylum,” it seems as if each song is attempting to hit the listener harder and harder, as kicks to the gut fade into full-blown blunt force trauma. By the time the listener reaches “Servant of Darkness,” every instrument is blaring at full force. Persistently pummeling percussion and rumbling bass steamroll the listener into the ground, while the guitars linger long enough to jump on their battered corpse. All the while, the vocals belligerently attack the listener with no-holds-barred kicks and punches. “Pure Being” does this more so than most tracks–beginning with a gut-wrenching vocal push which keeps the track roaring until its end.
Full-blown anger isn’t the only weapon in the serial killer’s arsenal, however. Emerald Vale make an almost equal use of delicate and haunting atmosphere which keeps the listener on the edge of their seat, begging and drooling for more. “Pure Being” features a stunning, intricate guitar riff and a series of splashy, bouncy fills that add the closest thing to light that this boundlessly dark release will see. While Malevolence is ultimately a back-breaking onslaught which is bound to leave listeners of all musical tastes and experience paralyzed, these moments of near-ethereal atmosphere add depth to the album which provide replay value. True enough, listeners will always find themselves waiting with baited breath (albeit not for long) for the next punishing slam or devastating breakdown, these moments of sheer, undeniable harmonization are almost as anticipatory. Whether it’s the Near-East influenced guitar tones or the winding, smooth and bouncy bass riffs that follow them, these moments of ever-so-brief reprieve are like food to the starving–like sight to the blind.
True murderers, killers and psychopaths aren’t necessarily just known for their straightforward anger, or their ability to be crafty and cunning–rather, they become famous because they know how to do both. They know when to plan and when to act; when to plot and when to kill. In this respect, Emerald Vale are no different. They know when to write labyrinthine, twisting and technically perfect segments and when to fold and attack the listener with nothing but bold-faced brutality. Malevolence is the product of calculated, honed, tried and tested perfection in its most cunning and angry form. “Asylum” is looping and twisting enough to make the listener lose their mind, while “Servant of Darkness” is quite honestly the most perfect conclusion to a release I have ever heard. The release is intelligent and brutal at the same time, knowing right what it has to do, when it has to do it. What more can the listener ask?
Sometimes, there is no running and no hiding from fate–whether it comes in it’s best, most blissful form or it’s most bitter and spiteful. In this instance, it just so happens to be both. Malevolence is an EP which takes no time in drawing the listener’s blood, showing that Emerald Vale are stunning musicians, masterful song writers and masters of the technical deathcore empire–forcing all false idols to their knees.
10 (And More)/10
For Fans Of: A Different Breed of Killer, Oceano, Thy Art is Murder, Martyr Defiled, Signal the Firing Squad
By: Connor Welsh