Malkavian - Annihilating the Shades
Finisterian Dead End
Thrash/Groove Metal
9 songs (46' 44")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Andy

Malkavian's groove-laced thrash metal returns for their sophomore release, Annihilating the Shades. Taking its sonic inspiration from two genres with larger-than-life predecessors, the album comes off sounding distinct from albums by any of them, with a fairly seamless meld of the anger of 80s-era thrash with a more modern approach in the form of more complex drumming and hardcore influences.

This is the style that could, in an alternate reality, have been the logical culmination of mainstream US thrash metal in the late 90s, if grunge hadn't happened and 80s thrash had taken fresh inspiration from groove metal instead of softening and going mainstrean. There are Slayer influences at work, particularly in the chunky riffing on the bottom of the scale and the wild soloing of Resurgence and KBA, but the tortured shriek of Romaric "Riko" Lamare, especially on the middle portion of Spit Away, puts one more in mind of early-2000s metalcore, especially considering the slower, more intense breakdowns found occasionally in the songs.

It isn't all furious and high-speed, though the tunes never slow down or succumb to the weaker emotions -- Ruins is about as close as they get to some clean vocals, and even those are filled with despairing rage backed by two-guitar chugging. The riffing is tight, intricate, and very aggressive, exactly the way thrash should be, but occasionally includes an eerie atmosphere in its intros that would be nice to see expanded; instead, the band usually goes straight from there to pure thrashing.

Ultimately, Annihilating the Shades makes for a fresh, original take on thrash without many of the drawbacks modern thrashers encounter when trying to blaze new trails. Listeners of newer thrash bands such as Suicidal Angels will probably enjoy it most.


Killing Songs :
Resurgence, Ruins
Andy quoted 78 / 100
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