Malefice - Dawn Of Reprisal (Metal Blade/Riot)

With a critically acclaimed debut album and a number of successful tours behind them, can UK metallers Malefice keep up the momentum?

The British metal press are a tough mob to please but Malefice's first album, Entities, received both smiles and nods from the UK's most judgemental scribes. This acceptance and acclaim was mirrored by the industry itself, with a number of high profile bands including God Forbid and DevilDriver offering the British metallers tour slots. Combine this with an impressive performance at the Download Festival 2008 and Malefice have clearly been one to watch in recent years.

For this reason, second album Dawn Of Reprisal was critical for the Berkshire-based quintet. Could they carry on the momentum or was it all going to go a bit flaccid? Thankfully the boys have proved that Entities wasn't just beginner's luck.

The Midas Effect opens Dawn Of Reprisal with a mix of undulating groove and vertebrae-damaging thrash, with frontman Dale Butler gargling the vocals in a cocktail of phlegm and blood. The down-tempo start to the album is quickly replaced by a moody death experience as drummer Craig Thomas picks up the pace to support ever accelarating axemen Ben Symons and Alex Vuskans on Abandon Hope. Before you're even ten minutes into this album, you've experienced a number of genres and some fucking excellent musical range.

Being rubber-stamped with the "death" label is a bit tenuous though, as I'm convinced die-hard death metal fans would shit twice and vomit into their pewter skulls upon hearing songs such as As I Bleed and Hatred Justified. The melodic vocal breaks are much more along the lines of Killswitch Engage than anything else, with Butler impressively adding to an already substantial vocal performance.

Even during the slower, more doom-ridden moments of this album the intensity remains. Coming in at just over 40-minutes in length for the ten songs, this ain't exactly Dream Theatre but, nevertheless, you don't feel any less enthralled as one heavy-as-fuck tune smashes into another.

Malefice stuck their head above the parapet with Entities, but Dawn Of Reprisal sees them screwing on a bayonet and charging foaming-mouthed at the enemy. Welcome to another example of how fucking hard the UK can do it.

Malefice's Dawn Of Reprisal is out now on Metal Blade/Riot.