Detherous – Unrelenting Malevolence Review

Some album art sticks with you long after you’ve forgotten every note of the accompanying music. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time listening to Hacked to Death, the debut full-length from Canada’s Detherous, but while the music was good, solid death/thrash, the simple and grotesque album art penetrated my brain without my consent and never left. In the intro for that review, I basically admitted to being a death metal noob and a recovering prude, so it’s fun to have Detherous reappear on my review docket when I’ve had a few years to acclimatize to the genre’s style and aesthetic and have had the opportunity to cover some interesting albums. I’m hoping that after cutting my death metal teeth into demonically sharp, crushingingly brutal incisor-molars, Unrelenting Malevolence will leave me feeling more fulfilled than its predecessor. Let’s see how it went.

Not much has changed for Detherous on the style front. Last time I referenced the early thrash of Kreator and the early death of…Death, but the most fitting returning comparison belongs to Demolition Hammer. As if the increased groove profile of Unrelenting Malevolence wasn’t enough to convince you that Detherous worships Demoliton Hammer’s Epidemic of Violence, the band has even included a cover of that album’s incredible opener, “Skull Fracturing Nightmare.”1 Just listen to the first single for Unrelenting Malevolence. “Gruesome Tools of Torture,” with its irresistible crossover groove, sounds like it would be right at home on Epidemic. The track is a great example of how Detherous has used the three years since the debut to distill their sound into one that capitalizes on the band’s strengths.

Once again, I find this Detherous album to be relatively uniform in tone, but where Hacked to Death was merely enjoyable, Unrelenting Malevolence is an exciting visceral beatdown. Sure, I still get lost during a playthrough, but the fact that I don’t actually care what song is currently playing, not to mention the fact that this album is a full thirteen minutes longer than its predecessor while not feeling like it, tells me that the songwriting is much improved. While ending the album with the cover of “Skull Fracturing Nightmare” left the band vulnerable to ‘but-that-band-did-it-better syndrome,’ it’s crazy how many times I’ve listened to the album and not immediately recognized that it had moved from original tunes to the cover—and this tells me that Detherous have succeeded quite well when it comes to emulating their heroes. “Skull Fracturing Nightmare” is a fantastic song, but it doesn’t overshadow tunes like “Encased in Gore,” “Interminable Mutilation,” Tormented by the Dead,” or “Reek of the Decayed” (a track that features guest vocals by Chris Monroy of Skeletal Remains).

Unrelenting Malevolence sounds fantastic. The guitars have a beefy crunch, the drums are crisp, and the bass noticeably enhances the album’s groove. The vocals from Damon MacDonald straddle the lines between thrash, death metal, and hardcore, making them the perfect fit for Detherous’ crossover thrash/death sound. MacDonald also handles guitar duties alongside lead player Ryan Hunter, and the duo has saturated the album with enough headbanging grooves to loosen your fillings and pulverize your kidney stones. I’m really impressed by the overall improvement from one album to the next.

Unrelenting Malevolence is a significant improvement over Hacked to Death and builds on the potential inherent in its predecessor to deliver an album that should please fans of no-nonsense death and thrash metals. Detherous has honed its sound down to one that is deliciously satisfying and that lands with all the subtlety of an axe to the face.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Redefining Darkness Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: November 11th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. I’m beginning to think that the artwork for Hacked to Death is a visual representation of this song.
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