In these days of genre saturation, you know you are in for a treat when a band makes it clear from the outset that they are bringing something a little unusual to the table. One such moment is the intro riff of Black Fume’s new EP: a sinister lead melody played on bass! The devil is in the detail, folks, and it’s something of a minor shame that these details are often forgotten about. It’s not often since the glorious days of Cartilage that such cool basswork had caused us to literally raise an eyebrow and drop everything we were doing to just listen. But this is not the end of Malicious’ rotten bodybag of surprises- for, rather than playing it safe with the usual old-school references, they go on to explore that brief and hidden era of death metal that almost never was, after the genre’s creative heyday and before it all went to shit: namely, the riffing intricacies of their neighbours in Grotesque, Liers In Wait and “Gardens of Grief”-era At The Gates. Still, rather than playing it safe and mimicking the riffing, they add an even more emphasized, looser Thrash sensibility not altogether removed from Possessed or Kreator in their prime. Something a little different from what you would expect, then, and all the more welcome for it. Never mind the name-dropping bollocks, Malicious don’t need any of it to justify their direction. “Black Fumes” is the sound of a band already offering something special, and with the courage to explore the paths less travelled and come back to tell some amazing tales.
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