Malicious Inc. have only really existed for about a year now, but one year on from the formation, they’re ready to release their first EP ‘Red Flag.’ The Bristol-based band recorded with the experienced Jeff Rose, who has worked with Bullet For My Valentine and Glamour Of The Kill. Without further ado, let’s get into the album.
I will encourage everyone to brace themselves the second the hit the play button for the first track. Without any warning, the magnitude of the sound smashes against your ears. If you expected some kind of intro here, chances are this probably caught you off guard. From the first second, they show you what they’re about. Fierce, heavy, brutal, and that’s just the first song. Master & Mutt feels like a freight train on fire, decimating everything in its path. Add a sinister breakdown and some slick double kick work, and you’ve got yourself one hell of an opening track. The follow up track is one for the hardcore kids. Literally when they bring the nasty riff back but slower. If this song won’t make you wanna break stuff then I don’t know what will. Also, they blend in thrash elements later on, which helps to spice things up. While one might argue that it’s not much different in terms of heaviness, it shows that Malicious aren’t afraid to switch it up with some variation. Although L.A.C.F.T.T.W. (yes, really) is a bit one dynamical, it is a solid second. Honesty deserves a special mention, as the drums really shine here, owning the intro and matching the rhythm of the guitar. On top of that, it does what it says on the tin. It’s a song about honesty, but more importantly, being honest with yourself. Through the lyrics, the band make a pledge to better themselves, and it is something that everyone should do every day.
There’s plenty of reasons why this EP is important, not just for the band but for the fans and the community. The music is as brutal as their honesty when it comes to their outlook on the world. Forget sugar coating or censoring, these guys deal with the nitty-gritty topics that most bands wouldn’t have the balls to talk about. Malicious have made music with a message and a purpose. The lyrics in particular talk about themes such as rape, loyalty, suicide and abuse. One song that stands out for me is the title track, Red Flag. From the opening beatdown-like riff, to the sheer strength of the vocals, this is a song that actually sounds scary. Furthermore, I think the theme really illustrates this songs nature. The lyrics call out someone for raping somebody. While I don’t know if that was a personal motive for writing this song, it certainly feels that way when the lyrics state ‘you raped my best friend.’ In addition, the hatred in his voice and the emotion the band project, it really gets the message across to the listener about the seriousness of the situation. With the similarities in tone and aggression, the vocalist manages to generate a sound and scream similar to that of Phil Anselmo, and that’s saying something.
The album ends in sheer contrast to how it started. For the first time on the album, Malicious show a little restraint. The song opens with an echo like effect on the guitar, which makes for a real nice intro. This leads nicely into the choruses, helping to convey the mood of the song. Malicious do really well to express the very real and fragile subject of suicide on this last song, partially by opting for a less heavy and extreme approach. Despite this, they keep their core sound and allow room for a guitar solo, adapting well to the lyrical content. Honestly, this band has seriously impressed me with this collection of songs. If nothing else, they’ve earned themselves at least one new fan. From the amount of energy they’ve packed into these songs, to the real-life topics covered, this is a great album. No two ways about it. I never like criticizing new bands on the quality of production, as it’s not really something you look for with new bands. As soon as you put the slightly muddy production to the back of your mind, you’ll see everything that makes this band great. Malicious Inc. will only improve as they continue their journey. I think they can really break through the metal scene in the coming years, so go listen to this album and keep a watchful eye on this band.
Highlights: Red Flag, Withered Trees, Master & Mutt