After five years missing in action, wudda y•know, original vocalist Brett Hoffman returns to the Malevolent mic for the band•s seventh studio album, Envenomed. Much like the infinitely dependable Slayer, Malevolent Creation continue to stay the course with a sound they forged ages ago, inconspicuously tinkering with the formula from record to record but always staying true to their chosen death-metal idiom without warranting a “why bother?” attitude. Such is the case with the 11-song Envenomed. Keeping their Floridian roots intact while others have jumped ship or faded into obscurity long ago, the quintet surprisingly exudes something strikingly European, strikingly Swedish black metal (Marduk, Dark Funeral, maybe Dissection) here, what with all those furious blastbeaten attacks and the eerily humming tremeloed riffing (see “Halved,” “Conflict,” and “Kill Zone”). Still, Envenomed sounds a whole lot like their earliest one-two punch of The Ten Commandments and Retribution crossed with 1998•s excellent Fine Art of Murder (arguably, their best record since the debut or 1995•s Eternal) with a few new nuances tossed in to keep things fresh n• modern; and after ten years and half as many lineup changes, that•s pretty fuckin• cool. They•ve still got a healthy fanbase, and dog-gone-it, there•s still a few good ideas rattling around their backwater brains, so don•t give up on these Ft. Lauderdale freaks yet.
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