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Album Reviews : In Malice’s Wake – Light Upon The Wicked

By on December 5, 2015

IMW - Light Upon the WickedFrom the opening beat, this album forcefully grabs you by the throat, glares into your eyes, and holds you there indefinitely. There are only so many ways one can try and rewrite the feeling of being completely blown away, so I’ll just phrase it as such: this album is like a sledgehammer to the mind, and after you’re dead drags you off to hell screaming in glee.

In Malice’s Wake have entirely outdone themselves with this album. ‘Light Upon The Wicked’ is undeniably one of the strongest metal albums to emerge out of Australia this year, and one of the most innovative and interesting thrash metal albums of the past few years. It all flows so seamlessly, from track to track. And the sheer intensity of the record – sewn together by infectious grooves, colossal vocals, and perfectly timed solos – is quite unlike anything else I’ve heard this year. It reaches to Behemoth and Kreator levels of brilliance, yet always sounds distinctly as In Malice’s Wake.

From the ominous and melodic “Onward Human Suffering” to “The Halls of the Damned”, you’re dragged along this journey by the skin at the back of your neck. But it is one hell of a ride. The combination of Leigh Bartley’s leads, to Shaun Farrugia’s riffs and vocals, and further yet to Mark Farrugia’s monstrous drums and Karl Watterson’s bass lines, it all lends itself to one of the most refined and sonically impressive albums I have heard all year. Mark Farrugia’s drums are relentless and they don’t allow you a moment to breathe amongst the carnage, but honestly I would have it no other way. In Malice’s Wake play completely to their strengths here, and that strength comes from the ability to pull you in like a noose wrapped around your neck and to keep you there. But not only is this album utilising the band’s ability to meld speed with melody, but it offers some of the darkest and most bleeding riffs you’ll find this year. ‘Light Upon the Wicked’s’ groove is infectious and this downplayed style carries this album the entire way through. But it does so brilliantly.

I can barely fault this record. If there is any thrash album you should do yourself the courtesy of checking out this year, it is this one. In Malice’s Wake have returned in force with this album and they are hungry for blood. You can bet they most certainly have delivered.


Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.