Malfunction - Fear of Failure (Cover Artwork)


Fear of Failure (2015)

Bridge nine records

Malfunction are a 90’s inspired metallic hardcore band hailing from Buffalo, New York. Malfunction has toured extensively with many of the most hyped names in current hardcore, earning them a spot on the roster of hardcore mainstay label Bridge Nine Records. Fear of Failure marks Malfunction’s first proper release since 2012, as well as their debut release for Bridge Nine Records. Malfunction’s most recent release fits into the Bridge Nine roster quite well, maybe a bit too well.

All things considered Fear of Failure sounds great, it is a well-constructed metallic hardcore release. It boasts the work of Jay Zubricky as engineer, Taylor Young of Nails and Twitching Tongues’ fame mixing, and Paul Leavitt (Turnstile, Darkest Hour) handling the mastering. The record sounds great, the drums are heavy and clean, the guitar is crunchy and harsh, the vocals are mean and angry, and all of these components make for a great hardcore record. Does Fear of Failure make me want to Frisbee my laptop and upturn my desk from the heavy 90’s style breakdowns? Yes. Will this record put Malfunction on the line up of many of the summer’s biggest hardcore fests? Likely, yes. At the end of the day, do I feel like I have heard this record before? Unfortunately, yes. Is that a bad thing? Yes and no; hardcore isn’t a genre known for being receptive of new tricks, this album definitely will hold up for the mosh mutants and current hardcore fans of the world, but if you aren’t a fan of current bouncy hardcore with a strong metallic 90’s influence, Fear of Failure may not be for you.

Malfunction is a band I would compare to Bridge Nine label mates Expire and Backtrack, but Malfunction definitely has a 90’s metalcore vibe that I appreciate that is similar to Buried Alive and Earth Crisis. This metal influence helps to separate Malfunction from the recent crop of hard-style bands currently touring the continent, it is also my favorite aspect of Fear of Failure. The heavy slow breakdowns and ominous guitar leads that are scattered throughout the album remind me of influential 90’s metalcore bands like Earth Crisis and Disembodied, and are the strong points of the record. Album closer “Discontent” is a great example of this, with a breakdown sure to bloody a few noses and tip a few merch tables.

At the end of the day Fear of Failure is a solid metallic hardcore release, it sounds great and is sure to get people moving. Malfunction aren’t pushing any boundaries or testing any limits, but if you are looking for some reliable heavy music that will push you to add a little bit more weight to your current bench, Fear of Failure will do the trick just fine.