Finally on vinyl for the first time ever, the cult ‘86 demo from Canada’s MALHAVOC. Eight violent, feral outbursts of raw black thrash with a twisted, malevolent edge. Drinking from the same poisoned well as early Voivod, Bathory, Sodom, Hellhammer and Possessed, this is a high-quality vinyl pressing remixed from the original reels and housed in full-colour gatefold jacket, with extensive liner notes and a wealth of unseen images direct from the group in an eight-page booklet plus vintage flyer repro on semigloss heavy stock. One time pressing of 500 only.
Our take: Vinyl reissue of the 1986 demo by this cult Canadian metal band. Interestingly, Discogs notes that Malhavoc began “as a straightforward thrash band in 1983, […] moving toward playing industrial metal by the late 1980s.” I’ll take their word on the latter, but Age of the Dark Renaissance is anything but straightforward thrash. Malhavoc is unique in that they seem influenced as much by the cult underground metal of the period as the spacey, spooky sounds of classic horror movie soundtracks. It’s not uncommon to hear a spooky intro on an old metal album, but on Age of the Dark Renaissance these bits make up a big portion of the record’s running time and don’t feel like intros or transitions, but fully-developed pieces with just as much merit at the metal they sit alongside. That metal is raw, sinister and brutal, betraying the influence of bands like Hellhammer and Bathory, but those songs are also veined with more complex, proggy rhythms that remind me of Voivod. As if that weren’t enough, Malhavoc is also very adept at dropping into an anthemic chug worthy of an early Metallica record. It all adds up to a unique and exciting metal record. Age of the Dark Renaissance also has killer packaging and the extensive liner notes I love, making this a worthy purchase for any lover of cult 80s metal.