Lake Malice @The Star & Garter (Manchester): Review

Icicles of hyper-pop synth lead dissipate around Manchester’s grungiest venue – The Star and Garter – and the band winds up to blast another high energy dance metal anthem. Eternal December, Lake Malice’s latest track, is about the need to belong. It is especially personal to Alice, who moved to the UK in 2016 (if my maths is correct) to pursue music away from her home country of Italy. Eternal December is about exactly that: feeling that those dark, cold, grey days just aren’t going to end. On the cusp of spring, the lyrics get stuck in my throat:

“And the more I pull the more I remember, that I wasn’t made for eternal December.”

Heavy lyrics mix with heavy music, and we collectively sing and dance with cathartic release. Lake Malice are not afraid to broach difficult and personal topics, and they bring this to the live show. Creepers, Power Game and Blossom are for those who’ve felt the abuse of men in powerful places. The band’s creative songwriting and fun performance circle back to Alice, with one foot on the monitor, screaming those heartfelt, often pained lyrics to the crowd, and the crowd screaming right back.

“Stick your middle fingers up for everyone who has disrespected your body.”

The show is manic in the best way possible. Guitarist, producer, and the other half of Lake Malice, Blake, launches himself off a monitor cover in his now signature scissor jump and we’re pinballed off of a rave verse into a metal breakdown. The setlist rolls through all of the band’s released music, and few more unheard tracks. One stands out to me, featuring a gorgeous, evil off-beat section punctuated with industrial chugging guitar – I can’t wait to hear this one recorded.

Alice stands over the crowd and draws rings with her finger – a circle-pit – and the moshers oblige. Blake joins the pit, still punching out riffs.

On a personal note, as someone who is increasingly realising the likelihood that I have ADHD, the chaotic, fast-paced and frequently changing songs of Lake Malice hit the nail on the head for my crazy brain. I was delighted to hear Magic Square – an older single, which I think the pinnacle of the duo’s songwriting creativity mixed with Blake’s production, at least in terms of raw dopamine driving riffs and drum patterns. It is unsurprising, then, that even among the creaking floorboards and peeling plaster of Manchester’s favourite underground metal venue, Lake Malice’s live production sounds just as good.

It was also a treat to cross-off Artio, the queer rock icons from Leeds, from my gig list before they go on to play Slam Dunk and probably take over the world. Taking the support slot, Artio are another alternative band who focus on electronic production, heavy guitar breakdowns, and heart-imploding lyrics from frontperson Rae.

Top to bottom, Lake Malice’s headline show in Manchester was one of the most fun smaller-to-medium-sized shows I’ve been to in recent memory. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it as, with the perfection of their formula, I doubt I will get many more chances to see them in such an intimate setting. The metalcore/electronic metal scene is a competitive place and I think Lake Malice are one of the best to do it.

If you want to learn more about the band behind the music, check out the interview we did with them at Radar Festival in August, 2023.

Live, laugh, Lake Malice.


Photos: Courtney Turner

About Tom Farley-Hills

Writer, journalist and musician - I create professional content by day and enjoy music by night. I don't restrict myself based on genre and approach every track with a fresh eye. I like to cover relevant issues and music that pushes the boat out. Artists of all shapes and sizes welcome!