Skip to main content

Review of the Album "Retribution" by Malevolent Creation

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


James Murphy Famously of the Band Testament Makes a Guest Appearance for This Album

Retribution is the 1992 studio album by Malevolent Creation and it has the main vocalist, the late Brett Hoffman providing the lead vocals once again. Stylistically, this album has more of a resemblance to what we would hear from Cannibal Corpse and even some of the bass guitar work resembles that band as well. The vocals also are a direct contrast to Kyle Symons. Unlike Kyle who has more of a lower, hoarse vocal style, Hoffman’s vocals were of a higher hoarse style but not like a dog bark for instance. Neither did they have bellowing vocal style of George Fisher. Making a guest appearance on this album is James Murphy, the same person that would join Testament in order to take part in the recording of the album Low in 1994. Murphy plays lead guitar in the song “Coronation of Our Domain.”

Lyrical Themes of the Album Retribution

Lyrically, especially in these early years, Malevolent Creation did not take their foot off of the gas pedal in terms of having some pretty savage lyrics but that’s to be expected of most death metal bands right? Even so, Retribution is not an evil sounding album in the literal sense where it will make you tense or apprehensive. As of 2021, Phil Fasciana is the only member to have been involved with all of the albums of this band.

The Larger Significance of the Album Retribution Goes Beyond the Songs

Rather than discussing where the introduction part of the first song “Eve of the Apocalypse” comes from, let’s just say that it sets that suspenseful mood that then turns into the style of death metal that we would have heard in the early 1990s. You can tell that the style of the bass and drums resembles exactly what it would sound like at that time. Hoffman demonstrates that he can also growl very well in addition to the harsh vocals that he was famous for. The bands Malevolent Creation and Cannibal Corpse have more than just a personal connection but this second album from Malevolent Creation is so much like a Cannibal Corpse album in terms of the style that it is very difficult to not spot that similarity if you are familiar with the Florida death metal scene at that time. Part of this connection is the fact that Rob Barrett plays guitar starting in this album and he would be a part of Cannibal Corpse’s earlier albums before departing and then returning. Joining Rob in this album is drummer Alex Marquez who is also known for playing in the band called Solstice. This adds further to the social connections that some of these guys had within the Florida death metal scene. Rob Barrett himself is no stranger to the band Solstice having done the lead vocals for their debut album.

Final Thoughts About the Album Retribution as of This First Analysis

In songs such as “Monster” there is a good secondary riff and based on what I’ve heard so far, Retribution is a rather good release from these Floridians. Had Brett still been alive today, he would probably agree that this album has aged very well over time. There are also traces of exotic riffing in the songs so that is a plus for an early death metal album such as this one. At the end of the song “Mindlock” though Brett really shows us something vocally that we may not have heard before. That vocal part sounds like an extended version of a raspy, evil sound which enhances the song.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

Scroll to Continue

Related Articles