In Malice’s Wake – Light upon the Wicked (Punishment 18 Records)Friday, 27th November 2015
Establishing a presence in the thrash field circa 2015 is not easy considering the veteran players still pummeling with high quality product (Testament, Death Angel, Overkill) as well as the newer generation that excite and delight (Havok, Warbringer, Vektor). Australia’s In Malice’s Wake – together since 2002 – hope to add their output into the upper echelon fold, as their third studio album Light upon the Wicked comes to fruition.
The quartet fluctuate between speedier, aggressive fare that would mow down anything that dare step in its path and mid-tempo, crunchier arrangements that showcase a little bit more of their musical know how and flair. Certain riffs and tempos just possess that right chemical connection to drill deep into the cortex for maximum body to carnage propulsion – seek out “Hear the Howls” and the Onslaught-esque “Bear The Cross” here. Guitarists Leigh Bartley and Shaun Farrugia supply ripping riffs and sick lead break work, establishing every type of arpeggio sweep and tapping technique under the sun to elevate energy beyond the already aggressive proceedings.
Drummer Mark Farrugia obviously graduated from the early 90’s school of when thrash drummers would also incorporate some death blasts and insane double bass fills to their solid metal tempos – check into some sick percussion skills and time signature transitions during the title cut and “Indoctrinator” to prove he subscribes to another level in strength, finesse, and power. Shaun doubles on microphone duties – his grittier roar equal to the task of viciousness in a Chuck Billy fashion, as the choruses to “The Halls of the Damned” and “From Beyond” loom large, adequate for screaming audience back and forth moments.
Add in crisp, pummeling production values courtesy of Orpheus Omega’s Chris Themelco and it’s easy to see why In Malice’s Wake are the real deal for Aussie thrash. Hopefully upping their game on all fronts equals a bigger, wider following.