A master of juggling ever-changing band lineups, guitarist Phil Fasciana has been steering the MALEVOLENT CREATION ship since the late '80s, almost always managing to give the fans the best his band has to offer. After vocalist Brett Hoffman unceremoniously left the fold for the second time, Phil enlisted the services of HATEPLOW bark-growler Kyle Symons, and subsequently released an outstanding album called "The Will to Kill", as well as Nuclear Blast debut "Warkult", and the live "Conquering South America". It seemed as though Symons, who I personally revered for his powerful delivery, would be the last of the MC vocalists. In keeping with Fasciana's mantra "If you're too slow, you've got to go", Symons has departed and Hoffman is back with his distinctive screechy growl on what may end up one of MALEVOLENT CREATION's best discs, "Doomsday X", the group's 10th."Doomsday X" is the kind of album created by veteran death metal musicians that pulls from all phases of their career, the result sure to be a fan favorite. And I do mean veterans. Along with Fasciana and Hoffman, MC vets Jason Blachowicz (bass), John Rubin (guitar), and Dave Culross (drums) have all appeared on the band's albums at one time or another. In fact, "Doomsday X" includes fourth-fifths of the "Stillborn" lineup. A team-writing approach makes for a well-rounded disc and musically one can hear albums like "Retribution", "The Fine Art of Murder", and "Warkult" in the sounds of "Doomsday X". Album-opener "Cauterized" is vintage MC with a guitar riff that will send shivers down your spine. Mixing speed with slower tempos works successfully throughout. "Bio-Terror", which features backing vocals from Kyle Symons is exactly the kind of tune you'd hear on "The Will to Kill", while "Archaic", "Dawn of Defeat", and "Culture of Doubt" are classic Hoffman-era killers. But it is on "Deliver My Enemy" that the group has written what will certainly become a live staple for the remainder of the band's career. Oddly enough, SLIPKNOT's Mick Thomson contributes a guitar solo on the track. Not only does it feature a chorus that will immediately get the neck snapping violently, but it is one of several tracks that sees the band switching to hyper speed mode, led by Culross' ferociously intense blasts. "Buried in a Nameless Grave" is another highlight, while the Rubin-penned instrumental "Prelude to Doomsday" breaks up the album nicely and contains traditional MC axe work. Honestly, I had gotten so used to Symons' roar and reveled in the kick in the ass he gave to "Warkult" and especially "The Will to Kill" that I was initially bummed that he was no longer in the band. But after a few spins of "Doomsday X" I came to the conclusion that this is one excellent slab of Florida death metal that can be considered yet another of this year's elite death metal releases. I can't find a flaw anywhere and it works so incredibly well as a complete album. Every damn song crushes like a band that has been reinvigorated. "Doomsday X" is a prime example of frightening savagery, amazing musical execution, and excellent songwriting. This one is guaranteed to make my year-end top 10 list.
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