Feature: Malefice – Reprisal Reloaded

It is a universally acknowledged fact that all successful bands spend years paying their dues on the road. There are no overnight successes in this industry, and a band that’s ‘come out of nowhere’ has usually spent the last two years at the arse end of nowhere, playing to 5 drunks in a hick-town pub.

That makes it all the more interesting to see Reading rockers Malefice back stage at Sonisphere. They will play a raging set that gets more than a few pulses racing tonight, but that happens hours later. Right now it’s windy, dusty and bugs keep getting into everyone’s beer. A bout of rain the previous night has everyone on edge, staring at the grey skies and hoping the forecast cloudburst passes us by. Everyone, that is, except Malefice, who seem unruffled by whatever you throw at them. They’ve played everywhere and seen it all before, and then some.

“That’s about right, yes!” jokes bassist Tom Hynes when asked if the quintet are trying to take over the world. In the last few months they’ve been on a merry jaunt around Europe with DevilDriver and Anthrax, earning a truckload of news fans in the process, no doubt. “It’s weird seeing how crowds differ on the continent,” he says. “They don’t tend to move quite as much, some tend to watch more but you get the odd show where it kicks off. But it’s good to know that they also care about the music enough to stand and listen.”

Of course, Europe seems like a walk to the next-door off-licence compared to some of their other, more ambitious travels. India isn’t exactly the first name that comes to mind when you think of Malefice fans, and some of the select few names to have hit sub-continental shores include Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Lamb Of God and Satyricon. Not bad company for a bunch of British upstarts who only released their first full-length three short years ago.

“India was an eye opening experience. Metal fans out there – wow,” says a clearly overawed Hynes.  “They’re crazy, absolutely crazy. We’d never played there before, turned up to headline this festival in New Delhi and we had 8,000 people there for us. I don’t know how, and we’ve never been there before. They never get that many bands in India so when they do, they’ve very, very appreciative.”

Crazy might just be an understatement for a gig involving 8,000 fans in 37°C heat, at the Rendezvous college fest in India’s capital. After a near-24 hour journey over 4,000 miles and an entire continent’s worth of travel, they brought it. And then proceeded to tear it to pieces, one groove at a time. But, in time honoured Spinal Tap tradition, one of the most memorable experiences of the trip came offstage, when they went to see the Taj Mahal.

Recalling the bizarre episode has Hynes in splits: “That was weird because more people were taking photos of us than the Taj Mahal! They thought we were wrestlers for some reason and just went mental with the cameras. It was fine at first but we got to a point where we were saying ‘No, go away. Taj Mahal… there… take a photo of that, not us!’ I think it’s because they were not used to seeing seven butch bearded white guys wandering around!”

Incidents like that are par for the course on the road. Seeing so many different sights and hearing such myriad sounds can get the creative juices flowing, and many an album has been pieced together with material written on tours. So it’s hardly surprising that Malefice are going to begin recording their follow up to ‘Dawn Of Reprisal’ in October.

“We’re already writing and have been demoing some songs. A lot of it was written on the road and are close to having an album’s worth. It’s mainly a case of finetuning at the moment,” Hynes reveals.

“It’s heavier and faster. ‘Dawn of Reprisal’ was a bit too mature, if you know what I mean. I think we held back a little on it, so this time we’re gonna make it really heavy, fast and try to get a really raw sound –  going back to how the first album sounded but taking in what we learnt with ‘Dawn Of Reprisal’.”

And who would bet against them pulling out another winner from the hat? They’ve been riding the crest of a wave that’s heading straight for stardom, and if they can bring even a fraction of their live swagger to the studio, well, may God have mercy on our ears.

And if the band thing doesn’t work out, at least they’ll always have wrestling!


About Abhijeet Ahluwalia

Abhijeet Ahluwalia – I’m a freelance journalist who goes back and forth between London and Bombay. A huge metalhead, but I have an eclectic taste, from reggae to punk. Oh, and Manchester United are the greatest team in the world. Follow me on Twitter or drop me a line via Email.

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