Gig Review: Malevolence / Pain of Truth / Rough Justice – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham (11th February 2024)

By the time I get to the venue tonight, the queue is still going down, just 10 minutes before the support is scheduled to go on. I can already tell this is going to be a busy night, if not for the fact that every-time I go to a gig nowadays someone is wearing one of the band’s shirts, that’s right- we’re seeing Malevolence.

Rough Justice (c) Jayne Slater

Rough Justice are our opener tonight. The Sheffield band are label mates with our headliner, both under MLVLTD. They have a great energy about them from the get go. They command the stage and within a few minutes there’s already a pit forming. Though only one person right now is throwing some spin kicks and everyone else is swiftly cuddled to the side to avoid being caught in the trajectory. I don’t think there’s any crowd quite like the hardcore crowd. Some people even already wearing the band’s shirts.

For a band of 5 members, the stage leaves little room for much movement. But that doesn’t stop one guitarist and the vocalist from jumping and spinning around. The guitarist on the left side would constantly be coming to the stage edge and making eye contact with the audience, and when he wasn’t on the edge, the vocalist would swiftly be taking his space. I can see why the other two guitarists were safely tucked away on the other side of the stage.

The vocalist kept mentioning their new album, Faith In Vain. From the way the crowd were immediately receptive to the songs, I can tell that this album is probably by all terms and definitions, a banger for the hardcore crowd especially. Seeing a band live is not only just to experience your favourite songs but it’s also just a fun event for metal-heads. This band know how to put on a show. Even if you didn’t now their music, you can still get down with the riffs and just mosh it out. Is there anything better for an opener to be able to do?

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Pain Of Truth (c) Jayne Slater

Pain of Truth came on to a riff that I can only describe as groovy metal. The American band had everyone was bobbing their heads and feeling the beat, even the security. This type of beat seemed to be a common thing among the band as their riffs and drums had this tidiness to them that refreshing in the hardcore scene and I got to say, it’s a vibe. You’d sometimes think it was an 808 beat but the hardcore twist on it made even me want to jump into the circle pit that formed within the first song.

The crowd interaction of the band relied wholly on the vocalist, Michael Smith. Mostly, it was just introducing the songs. With how quickly they were making their way through the setlist, I’m not surprised there wasn’t much time to talk, as the set times were already running behind. Smith would however urge people to jump and without a moment of hesitation they complied. I could see security anxiously at the front of the pit, keeping an eagle eye out for any crowd surfers. No crowd surfers, but there were many an arm spin and kick going on in the circle pit.

The sound of Pain of Truth live was so infectious that as I looked from the balcony to the pit, I think about 90% of the crowd were moving in some way. One thing that helped with this was the lighting design. Though things like stage design are limited at this venue, it was clear whoever was the lighting tech tonight had a good idea of the best moment to do the changes and add texture to the drops. This is something that could be said for the both supports, it was clear that thought had gone into the environment and there’d been some communication between talent and crew.

Looking at the crowd to see the kind of music the fans listen to, I have to say this is probably the most diverse concert in terms of age I’ve been to for the past 6 months. A lot of the fans already donning their Malevolence tees. Some already in Rough Justice merch. The only other band I could make out on the tees was Guilt Trip. There were two bananas though, clearly representing the importance of your 5-a-day.

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Malevolence (c) Jayne Slater

Malevolence are a Sheffield born band who are described as existing within the underground scene for around 10 years before coming full force onto the main scene. They released their latest album, Malicious Intent in 2022, which led to a 2-year touring campaign. The band came onto the stage with a roar from the crowd. The heavy riffs of “Malicious Intent” sending the crowd into a frenzy as they extended their hands and shouted the lyrics to the stage. The lights of the stage going crazy with these blinding white lights that reminded me of being at the optician. The sporadic lights only further encouraging the rampaging crowd, leading to a crowd surfer attempt but alas, the person disappeared before reaching the barrier.

The banter on the stage by vocalist Alex Taylor was great. He would constantly ask the crowd questions and introduced the band (as if no one knew who they were). I loved seeing the vocalist smiling on stage too, it just makes the whole energy of the room one that’s positive and breaks that barrier down between the pit and stage when it’s clear the members are having as much fun as the audience.

Guitarist Konan Hall provided some great vocals to go with Taylor’s harsh screams. The other two guitarists would constantly be thrashing together in synchronised moshing on the spot or doing the good ol’ leg on amp pose. Charlie Thorpe on drums would raise his hands at the drops and be feeling the music, especially when they played “Higher Place“.

Malevolence and both supports put on a great show. The energy from the crowd was here tonight and both sides of the barrier were feeding each other to go even harder. Malevolence have only a few dates left of this tour, before they head to America in July to support Lamb of God and Mastodon.

Photos by Jayne Slater

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