Malevolent Creation – Dead Man’s Path (2015)

Malevolent Creation - Dead Man's Path (2015)

Malevolent Creation has been in my listening backlog for many, many years on the strength of a few tracks from Retribution. I never got to them, because I was constantly distracted by trendier bands (brands). When I first acquired Dead Man’s Path, I theorized that since the band’s been around for nearly 30 years and retains some of its original members, this was not going to be a major stylistic departure from those past works lest long-time fans abandon them in droves. The flipside of this, as evidenced by my experience with similar types of recent releases such as Repentless, is that I expected that regardless of the final quality, I expected a streamlined version of MC’s past style.

My listening throws this into question. Malevolent Creation’s early works tended towards the ancestral end of death metal, with obvious speed/thrash metal roots poking out of an otherwise standard monophonic, dissonant approach. Dead Man’s Path recalls something of this, but as predicted, it turned out more conventionally musical, with more consonant melody and a denser production (out with Scott Burns and in with Dan Swanö). Add in a somber march of an intro, and a renewed emphasis on vocal patterns, and you have a release that has definitely streamlined itself. It doesn’t rock the boat much, and it does still pass the aesthetic litmus tests that define death metal, but the production and packaging isn’t particularly interesting to write about beyond its most basic qualities.

Unlike most of the bands that take this approach, however, Malevolent Creation does a good job of applying their musical practice to write better songs. To my understanding, they were never a particularly complex act, and most of these songs rely at least in part on obvious verses and choruses. However, good use of tempo and rhythm shifts in particular keep things from getting too skull-crushingly obvious and predictable. The band members also showcase enough compositional awareness to move integral song elements around between tracks to obfuscate the formulas a bit. I would personally have liked to hear more variation in riff styles, as some of the songs here (“Corporate Weaponry” in particular) suggest that such could be successfully incorporated while retaining the strong points of the band’s approach. That, however, is a small flaw in an otherwise very solid package.

To be fair, I was not expecting the strengths of Dead Man’s Path to be so covert, but they are the sort of elements that take some time to properly dissect and understand. However, this makes it a more valuable and perhaps integral work than most of what passes through the review queue here.

Tags: , , , ,

8 thoughts on “Malevolent Creation – Dead Man’s Path (2015)”


    Hello Gabe. So is this album going to be on the best of lists for 2015, you think??

    Being a long time Malevolent Creation fan and reader of the mighty ANUS, I never understood why they were denied a proper page on the DArk Legions Archive. I guess it’s because Prozak was always biased against speed-death metal in any of its forms. Headaches he said. This band at least in not going down the path of sucking major niggum cock beats the later material from the so called greats. Like: Unleashed, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Death, most Floridian death metal and Swedish death metal save for their classic peaks.

    1. Daniel Maarat says:

      There’s tons of death thrash in the DLA. Brett has the origins in Slayer and Kreator and then has Massacra. Fucking Massacra. Not even Vader has as many Slayer riffs! Then of course you have Deicide, Dismember (Indecent & Obscene is not in the DLA but is thrashy as shit and probably better than any Malevolent Creation album), Possessed, and Sepultura. Malevolent Creation were (and still are) a very solid but unstable band that never really refined their material due to asshole behavior and drug abuse. Not as much steroids, coke, and booze as later Deicide but still bad and entertaining to read about.

      1. OliveFox says:

        Didn’t know about the drug stuff…but it makes sense, given how stagnant a band they are/have become. Unfortunately their biggest crime was their inability to compete with the genre luminaries of the time. Especially in 91,’ I mean, 10 Commandments is a good listen, but between Effigy, Considered Dead, The Rack, Blessed Are…, and fucking Dawn of Possession (and many more!), MC just sorta hits a 400ft foul ball.

        Also, no reason for the cheap shots at Massacra! Those dirty Frenchmen are OK in my book.

    2. Gabe Kagan says:

      I think it’s still a bit early to say whether this is going to be on our ‘best of’ lists, but it definitely has a chance. I doubt a lot of the other sites are going to agree, since this isn’t a particularly gimmicky recording and a couple cheap aesthetic gimmicks are a solid investment for short-term profit.

  2. Malevolent Creation still sounds like Exodus trying to cover
    Possessed to me.

    1. Tropical Candy Boy says:

      Well, that can be cured.
      Just unplug the cocks from your ears next time you listen to them.
      Anybody wanna cyber?

  3. OliveFox says:

    I’ve never hated MC…used to spin 10 Commandments fairly regular. But in the end there just isn’t that much to say about them. Warkult was the last album I listened to (meh), so maybe I’ll give this one a shot just for the hell of it.

  4. This metal is NOT guaranteed to meet the Heavy Metal Safety Seal® requirements established by SafeMetal™, the Parents Music Resource Center and Social Justice International.

Comments are closed.

Classic reviews: