The rise and rise and rise of hardcore/metalcore band, Malevolence is one of the more notable things of the past few years, yet they’re clearly a band who haven’t even got close to their peak yet. Each time they play live, they gain new fans and move on to bigger and bigger venues. Resulting in a completely sold-out UK run of dates, culminating in a packed-out London show, exactly ten years to the day they released their debut album, Reign of Suffering.
Later in the night, they will celebrate this fact, but first, it’s a selection of stellar support bands all bringing their ‘A’ game.
First up, it’s Australian deathcore band, Justice for the Damned. The 02 Forum in Kentish Town is rammed, both downstairs and upstairs, a rarity for the opening band on a four-band bill, and Justice for the Damned take full advantage of that. Drinking in the atmosphere and hitting a desperate and hungry crowd over the head with some virulent and violent tunes. It’s an early indicator of what the whole night will entail, and it is impressive that, on a bill this strong, Justice for the Damned don’t feel out of place and manage to hold their own.
Also more than capable of holding their own, and causing an immeasurable amount of carnage, it’s the hellacious hardcore/crossover sound of Guilt Trip. Hot off the back of their recently released ‘Severance’ album, the mancunians have one goal tonight, and it’s to bust some heads and break some bones. Something many in the pit are more than willing to do.
Every single track of their short time on stage comes with vicious intentions and the number of breakdowns in this set alone will keep a hardcore kid satisfied for months. Sweet Dreams, Eyes Wide Shut, Tearing Your Life Away, and so many more get an airing and Guilt Trip deliver a near-headline stealing set overall. The heat and sweat in the venue after they are done has many genuinely wondering how Sylosis are supposed to follow them.
Come the end of Sylosis’ set though, no-one is any doubt that the modern melodic metal band are on the form of their life. Not just because of the quality of their recently released album ‘A Sign of Things to Come’ but by delivering a brutally heavy, intense, and tight set. It’s a phenomenal showcase of the band’s talents, where you’re left wondering how they aren’t headlining venues of this size already.
There isn’t a weak song played, and it shows the strength of ‘A Sign of Things to Come’ that tracks from it and met with the same adoration as tracks from the likes of ‘Cycle of Suffering’. In fact, it’s the title track of the new album that seems to get the loudest and most intense reaction of all.
Sylosis absolutely smashed it here and on any other day, they would be the band of the night, but Malevolence are virtually untouchable at the moment and the proof was seen here.
A headline worthy act, with the stage presence, songs, and good time behaviour to back it all up. You’ve not lived until you’ve experienced Malevolence live.
Kicking off their set with two of the banger tracks from 2022’s Malicious Intent, the title track and Life Sentence create more chaos than at any other point tonight. It’s immediately clear from this start, that this is going to be a show to remember.
Which it is, thanks to a varied set that has some unique moments. Moments such as Malevolence playing Waste of Myself, which comes from their mini album ‘The Aggression Sessions’. Moments such as the immensely powerful rendition of Higher Place, which features the backing vocals of Espera. Moments such as the aforementioned celebration of the ten-year anniversary of ‘Reign of Suffering’ with Serpent’s Chokehold and Condemned to Misery getting a dusting off.
How about Malevolence demanding one of the biggest pits seen at this venue ever, and the floor delivering in a gobsmacking way? It is simply astounding how good this band is, and how damn comfortable they look on this stage.
Selling out every single venue of this UK tour was something, but based off this show alone, there’s no doubt that next time Malevolence are back in town, it’s going to be in much bigger venues. The rise continues, and their success is more than deserved.
Malevolence with Sylosis, Guilt Trip, and Justice for the Damned at the 02 Forum Kentish Town, London (11/11/23)
Malevolence - 10/10
Sylosis - 9.5/10
Guilt Trip - 9/10
Justice for the Damned - 8/10