‘Reet good’ metal band Malevolence talk about their Sheffield origins ahead of their upcoming European tour, writes Laura Parnaby.
Vocalist Alex Taylor and drummer Charlie Thorpe met for a brew ahead of their next tour ‘Death to False Metalcore 2019.’ They confirmed Malevolence will also be playing two intimate gigs in Sheffield to celebrate five years since the release of debut album ‘Reign of Suffering.’
Along with Charlie and Alex, Malevolence members Konan Hall and Josh Baines on guitar and Wilkie Robinson on bass met as students of Tapton Secondary School. Charlie remembers his first metal performance in a school assembly when he was 12.
“Me, Alex and Wilkie went to school together,” said Charlie.
“We were the moshers. Me and Wilkie started playing music when we were about 12 years old, and we did our first show in the school assembly.
“It’s funny how it worked out, because we used to see each other on the local scene, when there were smaller bands playing. Josh and Konan, our two guitarists, used to BMX together down on the track at Bolehills.
“They started a band, and we ended up playing our band with their band at this old venue called The Boardwalk down in town.”
Alex, who joined the band in 2010, said: “Sheffield is pretty important to us. We had a lot of shows to go to when we were younger, and we made a lot of friends just from going to shows and playing shows here.”
Their favourite Sheffield venues include Corporation, and Yellow Arch studios where the band used to practice before it became a licenced venue – a venue which also played a part in the early days of the Arctic Monkeys.
Charlie said: “We did our first few band practices in Yellow Arch. We used to practice in Wilkie’s mum’s living room. Yellow Arch was a good practice spot cos it was quite cheap. We used to get a lift off our parents and go jam on a Sunday afternoon. It was just a practice room at one point, and now it’s a cool little venue.”
Despite being icons of ‘real’ metal, as the name of their upcoming tour ‘Death to False Metalcore’ suggests, the band draw influence from a range of genres.
Alex said: “Anything that we listen to we’ll draw from and build upon and make our own. That’s how we created our own sound.”
Charlie: “None of us listen to much metal these days any more. I had a phase of being really into house music. I’ve always really been into garage and bassline, anything that’s a bit more upbeat. I like to put a bit of a groove element to the music. I used to love this band Despised Icon, when I was little. Then eventually we went on tour with them, last year. The enthusiastic kid in me was going crazy about that. I got a lot of influence from them.”
As well as drawing influence from other bands and genres, Malevolence have gained a reputation for being an ‘OG metal band’ through the wild reactions of their fans.
Alex said: “The first time we played Download festival we got show stopped because some kid got knocked out in the pit, and it was a minor incident. It was one of the biggest shows we’d played, it was a big deal. Then they just turned the power off and told us we had to calm everyone down.
“When we went back this time, we went through the security brief and said it’s going to be absolutely fine this time. Then first song into the set this year, security got on stage saying ‘stop playing now! That’s not a mosh pit, they’re assaulting each other!’”
Charlie: “That story rang out and gave us a good reputation. Well, a bad one in a good way.
“Some of our fans do karate in the pit, though. It’s part of the sub-genre, the little scene. Everyone does spin kicks rather than jumping into each other. There’s a lot of broken noses and stuff.
“The more you get into it the weirder it gets.
“If you go to East Germany and watch some obscure band, people will be hitting each other so hard, and they end up kicking each other in the face, its so bizarre. So we’ve had to be more accessible because of that.”
Even when touring Europe and America with their album ‘Reign of Suffering,’ Malevolence were keen for people to recognise their Sheffield roots.
Charlie said: “I hope people recognise us as a Yorkshire band. I think they have to really, because of the slang we end up using. The first time we met a load of Americans, we just couldn’t communicate with them. We understood them, obviously, we watch Americans on telly.”
Alex said: “You don’t get many Sheffield people on telly.
“When we turn up and we’re like ‘oh reet’, they’re like ‘what?’
“Reet good metal. That’s been our tagline for ages, that was on the back of one of our first ever merchandise shirts. That links us to Sheffield alone, that one saying.”
Now touring with their latest album Self Supremacy, which the band describes as “s**t hot heavy rock”, Malevolence’s music has matured with them. Alex wrote the lyrics with bassist Wilkie.
He said: “The older you get the more you want to make songs stick in people’s heads.
“(Self Supremacy is) more mature, and more developed, it’s the next level up. With
every new bit of material that we write, it’s a step up.
“It started off being way more like melodic death metal, and its grown into something more accessible
“We want to make music for people to go crazy to, have a good time to, jump off the stage, whatever.”
Charlie: “There’s been five years between writing them because we were on the road, so yeah, we matured quite a lot, and it’s reflected in the music.”
The album has been well received in the metal world since its release in May 2017, with one fan going as far as to get the album title tattooed across the back of his head. Other more touching tributes have also reached the band.
Alex said: “I had a 13-year-old kid from the Netherlands message me the other day saying we were a big inspiration to him, which is cool to see. You never expect it.”
From paying to practice at Yellow Arch studios, to playing a sold-out gig there next week in celebration of five years since the debut album that set them on course for international recognition, Malevolence still stay loyal to the steel city.
On November 30 the band will be playing at Yellow Arch, and 1 December 2018 at The Harley.