They have been on the lips of fans, critics, promoters and even the odd international Metal icon, over the last year. Having conquered the likes of Download, and laying waste to the main stage at Bloodstock last year, the stars are very much lined-up for the five-piece…and they’re only getting started.
A new deal with Nuclear Blast will see their forthcoming and highly-anticipated new album ‘Malicious Intent‘ hit the shelves on May 20th and then they’re off to America to convert the masses. Big things indeed!
Frontman, Alex Taylor took some time out of the bands’ hectic schedule from their purpose built HQ/compound to talk about the new album, the events of the last two years and what he makes of them becoming a force to be reckoned with…
OD – Lets first talk about the excellent new album. ‘Malicious Intent’, was this material recorded when you did ‘The Other Side’ EP , or did that come afterwards?
ALEX – When we were writing for the EP, the songs that didn’t make it for the EP, we held them back for the album and by the time we started working on the album, we had the bones of about four or five tunes and we just hit the ground running.
When it came to finally writing it, it came together quite easily. We are very much our own worst critics, and to have things start off so smoothly was…well it was kind of weird, as it just really flowed for us. To have the album coming so close to being released… it’s really so surreal, and very exciting.
OD – The band recently inked a deal with Nuclear Blast, which has really given you the platform that you need for Malevolence to smash into the American market as well as everywhere else. From all the blood, sweat and tears that you’ve all put in over the years, does it still feel a bit surreal that you have a sold deal underneath you now?
ALEX – We’ll be heading back to America this coming June with The Acacia Strain and 156/Silence. We are so looking forward to getting back out there. It feels really amazing to have the support from a label such as Nuclear Blast.
We’ve been working so hard for so many years, and to finally see the hard work paying off…well it’s just amazing.
OD – As far as any other bands’ go, Malevolence has seen a tremendous amount of success over the last few years, considering the lockdowns etc. Do you feel that in some ways the lockdown opened up some doors for you guys, especially since the international touring bands’ couldn’t get over to the UK?
ALEX – Yeah, I guess there was a chance there for UK bands to step up to the plate and prove themselves. We just kept our heads down and continued to grind away on making ourselves the best we could be, and it paid off. The EP dropped at the start of the first lockdown, and that kind of worked in our favour, with the timing.
It was a great opportunity to get booked for those big shows like Download and Bloodstock as it really gave us a chance to show off to a way bigger crowd just how much we could handle that level. I think we made people sit up and give us their attention. We were the band that people only heard of, but off the back of the EP, and those shows last Summer, it was time to put a sound to that name, and I think we did that to the best of our ability.
It really felt like something had changed. When we stepped out on that stage at Download, it was a really insane experience. To have that many people going insane and signing along to all the
OD – Having had the album on rotation for the last few weeks, it’s safe to say that it’s just a monster release. Having the likes of Matt Heafy [Trivium] guest on ‘Salvation’ and Matt [Honeycutt, Kublai Khan] on the album also just add to the strength of the tracks. How did those guest vocals come about and did you have the guys in mind when you were writing the tracks?
ALEX – Well, Matt Heafy, actually started following Josh [Baines, guitar] and then a few weeks later, Matt messaged the band account and reached out to us and said: “I’ve heard you’re making a new album and would love to be part of it. Whatever you need, vocals, guitars etc.” Of course, we were like: “Yep 100%“, and that’s basically how it all came about.
Within about a week he live-streamed his performance on Twitch and was 100% on-board for what we wanted to do. The song itself was already written and recorded so we just had to tweak a few things. He’s a really nice guy and is showing us a lot of love. He bought a load of merch off us also, which is always nice.
And with Matt Honeycutt from Kublai Khan, we’ve known those guys for years and I just hit him [Matt] up on Instagram and asked him if he wanted to be on the new album and he was instantly up for it. He’s a great guy and we’re just chuffed that he got involved.
OD – The up and coming Irish shows will see you bring out Guilt Trip and Bailer. [pictured below] It must be a great feeling to be able to bring out up and coming bands for shows…
ALEX – Yeah, so we approached both Guilt Trip and Bailer and asked them if they wanted to be apart of the tour. It’s great to be able to curate our own shows and give a helping hand to up-and-coming great music that is all around us. We’re all really looking forward to getting back to Ireland.
OD – Having played at Download and Bloodstock Last year, and scheduled to join Sleep Token on the Architects shows in May, these are some massive shows under your belts. When you look at what you’ve all accomplished and what lies ahead for the band, do you ever find it overwhelming?
ALEX – I used to think that Malevolence would be an Arena band, and here we are a few years later and we’re playing Arenas. I’m happy to eat my words on this one. As soon as we get out there on stage, we’re gonna play as hard as we do when we’re playing small club shows. It’s gonna be a party for sure. I can’t wait.
OD – You’ve said that on this album you wanted encompass the bands sound by going further and deeper with the writing. Did that prove to be a difficult task at first, or did it all come naturally from the get-go?
ALEX – No, it came really naturally. It probably came together more organically than any other Malevolence album. Looking back, it all just came together really nicely. Having our own compound, has helped us with writing and it’s made a huge impact on our creativity. Before we used to have this shitty space in the arse-end of Sheffield.
There’s a hub of activity here all the time. It’s a space where we can come and go as we like, and there’s no pressure. It’s been a huge game-changer for us getting this place.
OD – With this new space, would it be a good assumption to say that there’s already been a lot of new material written?
ALEX – Yeah, there’s been a lot of really positive stuff happening. We’ve been writing a lot and there’s a few new tunes there. It’s early days yet, but let’s just say things are going very well right now. We’re continuing to push our boundaries, and explore our sound.
OD – I’m sure there have already been some bucket list moments that have already happened for you in the last few years, but what would you like to see happen over the next year for Malevolence, such as any bands’ you’d love to tour with, etc?
ALEX – Yeah, the last few years have been kind of amazing. But I’ve got a few things on my bucket list. Like, I really would love to play in South America and I’d also love to tour with Lamb of God. That would be incredible. We’re gonna try to hook that one up, so hopefully it happens. We’re already going back to the U.S. so that’s another box ticked. I love to back out to Asia also… I don’t know, there’s loads we want to achieve, so I guess the best thing to do is just put our heads down and work our arses off. Then perhaps those things will happen for us. But, I’m just genuinely blown away with all we’ve achieve so far and am so thankful to all the people that have supported us over the years.
OD – If there was one track of the album that you feel defines where Malevolence are with sound and direction, what would it be?
ALEX – I guess…it’s hard to pick one because each one of the tracks are equally heavy in their own way but I’d have to say, ‘Karma‘ which is fast and aggressive and in-yer-face, also perhaps, ‘Higher Place‘. That track shows how versatile we are as a band, and I believe we’ve got so much more scope to play with when it comes to that type of sound. At the end of the day, we just want to push ourselves as much as we can, and keep evolving to be the best version of ourselves.
I would also like to add ‘Salvation‘ because of the lyrics. That’s the most honest I’ve ever been with my writing and I’m really proud that it’s one of my most songs to date and the fact that one of my childhood heroes’ [Matt Heafy] features on the track, that helps also. So, there you have it, my top three tracks…
OD – Coming from Sheffield, do you find the success you’re experiencing now has given a new lease of energy to the up and coming bands in your local scene?
ALEX – Well, we’ve just keep working as hard as we can. Bring Me The Horizon are local lads and they’re doing well for themselves [Laughing]. There is a good scene here in Sheffield with bands like While She Sleeps, and going back to even the early ’80s with the likes of Def Leppard. I’d like to think that other bands can see that if you put in the hard work, you’ve got a chance of making things happen. Either way, we’re just happy to be able to play live and do what we do.
Malevolence will embark on a run of Irish dates from April 28th in Limerick, Dublin, 29th and Belfast 30th, with support form Guilt Trip and Bailer. Tickets are on sale NOW via this link.
‘Malicious Intent‘ is available for pre-order via this link. Release date May 20th.