Awaken The Tides shares surprising comparisons with the political career of deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. Not only is it an unfulfilled prophecy, but it begins rather promisingly before swiftly taking a nosedive and going downhill faster than a fat kid in a beer barrel. It also has some subliminal messaging that lobbies to put an end to university tuition fees. Maybe.
First track and lead single ‘Awaken The Tides’ is an absolute beast of a metal anthem full of riffs, ferociously barked vocals and a melodic guitar dual that threatens to escalate into a full blown shredathon before breaking into an outro that is quite possibly the heaviest thing they’ve ever done. But it’s as if all of their creativity has been squeezed into this one song with nine other tracks of filler.
You’ll be hard pressed to find many riffs on here, a disappointment given the abundance of them on their first full length, Entities. In their place is lots of chugging which, at best, finds the occasional catchy rhythm to underpin a well placed chant.
The vocals are something that also need to be addressed. They have never been Malefice‘s strong point but on this record vocalist Dale Butler introduces a new style of what can only be described as whining. It’s perplexing because he at times shows himself to have a powerful and majestic roar which fuels the music with drive and passion, but he rarely uses it opting instead for a clean shout delivered on a falling note which is relentlessly irritating. Think listening to Paris Hilton throwing a fit for fifty minutes after not being allowed to bring her dogs into rehab with her.
That said there are a few standout moments such as the feeling of sheer desperation and utter futility on ‘The Day The Sky Fell’, but these are few and far between.
On final track ‘The Haunting’ Butler shows off his enviable grasp of the past participle with a repeated refrain of “We have awoken the tides”, where he has ingeniously moulded the record’s title into the past perfect tense to conclude the album. Ladies and gentlemen, the tides have indeed been awoken and they are gently lapping at the shores of mediocrity.