Mallavora: is this hard rock band the breath of fresh air the British heavy music scene needs?

Mallavora promote themselves as ‘bringing heavy rock music back to young people in an inclusive space.’ Pretty big words for any band, never mind one that has only been around for a few years and only actively releasing music for less than two. However, having heard one of their songs already, they seem to be a damn fine group of musicians creating some good music. The band released their debut 4-track EP last year; it’s my job to sit down and see if their claims are true or not. 

‘Ego’ opens on a pretty heavy, interesting riff, although it does sound like a Biffy Clyro song that I cannot for the life of me place after an hour of searching. It soon heads into a HUGE opening chorus – Jessica Douek’s vocals sounding fantastic and powerful as she sings a catchy, singalong melody. 

This song is all about the chorus – a catchy, radio-friendly track that’s ideal for a single. The bridge after the third chorus is great, stripping the instrumentation back down while some repeated lyrics come in over the top. It builds up into a huge breakdown and then the song ends. The structure threw me off a little and I feel that I would have liked another chorus at the end. But, given that the track kicked off with one, it makes sense why they chose not to. Either way, it’s an incredibly catchy song and made my personal playlist. 

‘Deceiver’ explodes into another heavy riff, one that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Gojira album. I love the dynamics during the verse – just drums, a low, fuzzy bass and vocals for the first half. I don’t love the double-tracked vocals; in my opinion, it drops the production sound a little when the rest of the album sounds superb. It builds back into the heaviness with the low, distorted guitar coming back perfectly. The track stays heavy after the second verse, evolving the riff a couple of times, keeping the fun and heaviness whilst adding another great layer to the overall sound each time. The instrumentation writing with this band is fantastic. Another good song, so much so that I’m not sure what tracks I prefer so far – both were so different.

A drum roll leads to a still heavy but more Royal Blood sounding riff to open up ‘Favourite Mistake’. However, the verse really confused me. Between the accent and the melody of both the riff and vocals, it felt like I was listening to a heavier punk song or even something by Madness. It was cool, don’t get me wrong, it just threw me off at first. It all builds again into an amazing chorus, maybe my favourite one so far as it was the least repetitive of all of them while still being pretty damn catchy. Overall, I think this might be the most enjoyable song for me as everything worked: the vocals, the riffs, the structure – it all felt right. Another one added to my playlist!

And finally, we reach the last song on the EP, ‘Paradise’. Clocking in at nearly eight and a half minutes, it is almost twice as long as all the other songs which of course means either two things: amazing epic song or long, drawn-out mess. Thankfully, Mallavora continue their EP streak and I’m inclined to say the former.

It opens on a great guitar riff – me instantly falling in love with the effect and tone Larry Sobieraj uses. I have to admit I was a little shocked that the vocals started as soon as they did, I thought given the length of the track they’d drag it all out a little more. The vocals worked pretty well over the top, as did the simple drums. I loved this slow part, so much so that when it got heavy out of nowhere it again threw me off. Especially given that not only did it all get heavier and distorted, but the tempo sped up suddenly. After a slow chorus, it almost immediately drops down into another steadier, quieter chorus before repeating the formula again. It was a slightly easier transition this time, as at least this verse was in the same tempo as the heavier parts but it still comes out of nowhere a little bit. We get three verses before it drops down into a pretty cool little guitar riff. The lyrics are interesting, even if they are a little too conspiracy-y for me. This section slowly builds more and more, giving me pretty major Tool vibes with how slow they take it. Then, out of nowhere again, another heavier riff. It’s pretty good and gets better when it heads into more of the breakdown, not going on for nearly long enough before the vocals come back in and lead it to another double chorus. It then heads into the slow intro section for the final minute or so before giving us our only guitar solo of the EP. Whilst being kind of slow, it fit the track perfectly. I have no idea how to feel at the end of this song. Parts were good and definitely felt like it had an epic momentum, but it was also a tad messy – I’m not sure if that’s due to the shock I felt on my first listen and it might grow on me in time. 

Overall: Mallavora are all very talented individuals. The UK needs more good, young rock bands and they definitely fit this description. I wasn’t expecting this vibe for my very first listen, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. I would happily see these guys live and can’t wait to hear what they do next.

Score: 7/10

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