REVIEW: Emerald Vale - Malevolence

Genre: Deathcore
Label: New Justice
Date of Release: June 7, 2013


Deathcore has become somewhat of a mixed bag nowadays. On one hand, there is a good number of bands that manage to bring something new, gripping, and unique to the genre. However, sadly, there are just as many who follow the typical formula of breakdowns and blast beats. Australian quintet Emerald Vale is a band that sort of hangs between the two sides. After forming in 2009 from Gold Coast, they released a demo in 2010 and then their debut EP “Deception” in 2012. Later on, 2013 would see a new addition to the band’s discography, their second EP simply entitled “Malevolence.”

Starting off, although the musicianship is rather standard for the deathcore genre, it is nonetheless solid. The vocals have a solid range between low, middle, and high-pitches, and they do boast some good energy for the music. Along with that, the guitars, although they tend to play the typical chugs prominent for deathcore music in general, they do also perform some memorable riffs and melodies. One example is in the second track “Pure Being,” which opens up with an explosive guitar melody. Tidbits like these make the guitars well capable of standing out of the rest of the crowd. The drums are also played out solidly, even though they’re rather basic in terms of the blasts and breakdowns. On top of all this, the mixing behind this album is also carried out greatly. Everything from the musicianship can clearly be heard, but there is some great atmosphere to it to make the instrumentation sound even better. In “Malevolence,” both the musicianship and the sound production are done rather well in this record.

This EP consists of highly violent and unrelenting deathcore, and it does have good and bad points to it. Starting on the negative side, the music is undeniably generic, and if you’re entering this album with the hopes of finding something truly unique and innovative, chances are that you won’t have such luck. Nothing really stands out of the rest of the crowd. Another problem is that, although the first half of the album has a good amount of memorability, the second half becomes a little more predictable and lenient towards the typical deathcore formula. However, even so, the positive aspects are enough to make the album a decent listen. There are a few gripping and potent moments, such as in the song "Pure Being," as stated earlier. In addition, if there is one thing that Emerald Vale succeeds in when it comes to this album, it's the vigor. The music holds a nice amount of energy to keep listeners at least somewhat invested, and it works in the band's favor as well. While the music is far from perfect, it does hold up relatively well anyways.

All in all, “Malevolence” is a rather solid dose of deathcore, but there is nothing too special about it, either. The musicianship is, for the most part, standard in terms of the genre, along with the music itself, complete with all the blast beats and breakdowns. On the other hand, though, that doesn’t stop the album from being at all likable. There are some memorable moments peppered on, as well as some great energy, and the instrumentation is still performed well. The band just needs to have a more unique touch to their metallic bludgeon if they intend to create anything truly out there. If you decide to skip out on this, you aren’t missing anything in particular, but deathcore fans may want to give it a try nonetheless.

Score: 6.5/10 (Fair+)