Music / Malignancy

Malignancy is an American technical/brutal death metal band. Characterized by their bizarre and completely one-of-a-kind riffing approach, astoundingly complex and absurdly fast drumming, and Danny Nelson's distinctive vocals, Malignancy has slowly but surely carved out a devoted following as one of the few bands out there that can be safely said to sound like absolutely no one else.

Formed under the name of Carcinogen in Yonkers, New York in 1992 by Danny Nelson (vocals) and Javier Velez (guitars), the band quickly changed their name before undergoing what could only be called a whirlwind of personnel changes over the next few years, with an assorted array of near-yearly demo releases accompanying those changes. The band finally happened upon a relatively steady drummer by the name of Roger Beaujard (also of Mortician fame), along with a guitarist by the name of Ron Kachnic. A similarly steady bassist by the name of Desmond Tolhurst came the following year, creating what many consider to be the classic "old Malignancy" lineups. This lineup released yet another demo in a long line of them in 1998, but it was this demo that finally got them a deal with United Guttural Records. Their efforts finally having paid off, the band released Intrauterine Cannibalism, their full-length debut, in 1999, which made a huge splash in their home area and a not-insignificant impact elsewhere. Another EP, Motivated by Hunger, quickly followed in 2000, along with a US tour and an appearance at Brutal Assault. Tolhurst also left sometime around then and was replaced by former guitarist Lance Snyder; in addition to this, the band cobbled together a demo compilation by the name of Ignorance Is Bliss. A split with Intervalle Bizarre came that following year, along with a European tour. Yet another release came in 2003 in the form of Cross Species Transmutation, which was yet another EP. Beaujard left the following year, with his replacement being a little-known drummer by the name of Mike Heller.

Heller's extensive jazz fusion background brought the potential for a radical new sound to the band, and they quickly released a promo the following year to provide just a small teaser of the up-and-coming "new Malignancy" sound. This was also around the time that United Guttural went out of business, leaving them without a label; thankfully, Willowtip snatched them up a little while after, and Inhuman Grotesqueries followed in 2007 to rave reviews and renewed interest in the band. Unfortunately, however, Snyder left the following year, putting things on hold while they hunted for a new bassist. Thankfully, Roger stepped back in and took Snyder's old post, and thus disaster was averted. Various tours and fest appearances followed, and things just crawled on for a while, with scattered writing for a new album also taking place. The songs that spawned from that started to creep into their setlists, but there was little progress on the album as a whole; as Danny put it, "it'll come out when it comes out". Finally, five years later, Eugenics finally hit, and it was also around that same time that Mike joined Fear Factory, with Alex Cohen from Pyrrhon filling in for him as needed when his obligations to Fear Factory and the countless other bands conflict with Malignancy. As of late, nothing major has happened other than a few fests, though Roger left yet again and was replaced by Monty Mukerji (of Mortal Decay fame) this time around. It stands to reason that Malignancy will soldier on from here, never making any massive leaps but always remaining a well-loved act.


  • Eaten Out from Within (1993) - demo
  • Rotten Seed (1994) - demo
  • Rehearsal Demo (1996)
  • Ignorance Is Bliss (1997) - demo
  • Promo (1998) - demo; notice a pattern here yet?
  • Intrauterine Cannibalism (1999)
  • Motivated by Hunger (2000) - EP
  • Ignorance Is Bliss (2001) - demo compilation
  • Unexpected Awakening of Impassive Mass / Fraility of the Human Condition (2002) - split with Intervalle Bizarre
  • Cross Species Transmutation (2003) - EP
  • Promo 2005 - demo
  • Yonkers Death (2007) - V/A comp
  • Inhuman Grotesqueries (2007)
  • Eugenics (2012)
  • Epilogue (2014) - 7"

This band contains examples of the following tropes:
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Strongly averted with Mike, who is known for his almost inhumanly calm and composed performances.
  • Another Man's Terror: "Postmortem Perception"
  • Apocalypse How: Class-2, borderline Class-3 on Eugenics. Except not...
  • Big Applesauce: Not from NYC proper, but they're such an integral part of the city's metal scene that they might as well be.
  • Big Fun: Roger Beaujard
  • Brutal Death Metal
  • Career-Ending Injury: Roger had to quit playing drums after he got in a very bad car accident that rendered him unable to play at the level required. He later switched to bass before leaving altogether.
  • Concept Album: Eugenics.
  • Gaia's Lament: "Profitable Extinction".
  • Gorn: Here and there, albeit often in medically accurate terms.
  • Grindcore: Heavily influenced by this, particularly goregrind.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: A recurring theme, particularly in Inhuman Grotesqueries.
  • I Am the Band: Danny Nelson
  • I'm a Humanitarian: ""Fried Afterbirth"
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Thanks to Danny's notoriously low gurgle and love of Motor Mouth.
  • Lead Bassist: All of them have been Type As, though Roger was also a Type C due to his status within the New York death metal scene.
  • Lead Drummer: Mike Heller is known for his incredible technical ability and speed, ability to play almost any genre, and his status as a sought-after teacher who has given lessons to people like John Longstreth, Ken Bedene, and Kevin Lane.
  • Miniscule Rocking:
    • From Intrauterine Cannibalism, we have "Intrauterine Cannibalism", "Internal Corruption", and "Fried Afterbirth"
    • Inhuman Grotesqueries gives us "Indigenous Pathogen"
    • Eugenics has "Monstrous Indifference"
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hard 10 their entire career, frequently 11.
  • Motor Mouth: Danny is a frequent practitioner of this.
  • New Sound Album: Inhuman Grotesqueries, as it marked the start of the "new Malignancy" sound.
  • One of Us: Danny
  • Protest Song: Here and there.
  • Revolving Door Band: To a ludicrous degree early on. They're pretty stable now aside from the slightly higher-than-normal bassist turnover.
  • Signature Style: Two different styles:
    • Old Malignancy: A mixture of slams, grind-influenced riffing, and bizarre pinch harmonic riffs coupled with Roger's straightforward but astoundingly fast and powerful drumming and Danny's raw, goregrind-influenced gurgling vocals.
    • New Malignancy: A twisting, churning, shifting maelstrom of riffs that seldom repeat themselves more than twice before moving to another idea, astoundingly fast and complex drumming that frequently follows linear rules, bass that alternates between backing the guitar and doing its own thing, and Danny's characteristic gurgles mixed with mid-ranged roars and the occasional Metal Scream.
  • Technical Death Metal: A particularly deranged example.
  • Uncommon Time: Common time is the exception, not the rule here.