Review: MALICIOUS INC. “Red Flag” [Sliptrick records]

Review: MALICIOUS INC. “Red Flag” [Sliptrick records]

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This is some nu metal with a real bite. From beginning to end, this is unrelentingly heavy, with brutal riffs and drumming, loud screams and a tough attitude that works really well and never feels forced.

Did I mention that stuff’s heavy? The first track doesn’t even bother with any kind of intro, and immediately starts with screams and heavy riffs. And this continues, with great heavy moments like the solo-breakdown moment followed by really loud drumming in L.A.C.F.T.T.W. Even the ballad at the end has a lot of screaming. The anger on this EP is loud and clear. It’s perfect if you want something angry and mean, and it’s a nice musical accompaniment to scream about all your frustration.

This EP also has a lot of interesting ideas. While one might initially think that this is going to be another simplistic tough-guy nu metal/metalcore EP with not a lot of variety or subtlety, just a few listens will prove that it’s not the case. In just 5 tracks, the band manages to experiment with various styles.

This music is labelled nu metal because of the mix of screaming and speak-singing, the stop-start riffs and the lyrics about nu metal’s favorite topic, from tough guy posturing in Red Flag to angst in Wintered Trees and abusive relationship dynamics in Master and Mutt. But that’s not the band’s unique influences, as the barking and screaming sound more like hardcore, and the riffs are often heavy enough to sound like groove metal, but there is also a noticeable thrash influence. And the last track, Wintered Trees is a melancholic and heavy ballad with screaming and singing, strange guitar sounds, a haunting atmosphere, a nice solo and strange, hard to interpret lyrics.

They do all of that pretty well too. They can definitely play their instruments, as the drumming in L.A.C.F.T.T.W and the riffs in Wintered Trees prove. They can express anger convincingly, but they are also good at expressing tension or melancholy. There is something really gripping about the tense spoken vocals in Master and Mutt talking about how you can’t “bite the hand that feeds”, or the tormented singing in Wintered Trees.

Overall, this is a debut that shows a lot of promise. I’d say this one is also great if you crave something dark and angsty, but more varied, because this EP has arguably all the best qualities of nu metal, that might make it easier to accept for most Antichrist readers: the experimentation with different genres, and the dark and tense mood. This is one band to watch out for.

Release date: January 28th, 2020

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