Malignus Youth

Last updated
Malignus Youth
Origin Sierra Vista, Arizona
Genres Hardcore punk, melodic hardcore
Years active 19871994, 1999Present
Labels Youth Inc. Records
Associated acts Pathos
Mynd Bent
Shrunken Monkey Paw
Past members James Martin
Octavio Olaje
Tom Shelden
Mike Armenta

Malignus Youth was a hardcore punk band from Sierra Vista, Arizona, that was active from 1987–1994 and again from 1999–2001

Hardcore punk Subgenre of punk rock

Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."


Known for their unique sound featuring exceptional complexity in musical arrangements, vocal harmonies, melodic structure, classical music influences, and fast tempos, Malignus Youth released one LP, two 7-inch EPs, a five-part musical setting of the Roman Catholic Mass on CD, and a retrospective CD compilation of unreleased tracks. Their vinyl output was also collected onto one CD.

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Mass (music) Form of sacred musical composition

The mass, a form of sacred musical composition, is a choral composition that sets the invariable portions of the Eucharistic liturgy to music. Most masses are settings of the liturgy in Latin, the liturgical sacred language of the Catholic Church's Roman liturgy, but there are a significant number written in the languages of non-Catholic countries where vernacular worship has long been the norm. For example, there are many masses written in English for the Church of England. Musical masses take their name from the Catholic liturgy called "the mass" as well.


Band members included:

Musical style

Typical of traditional hardcore punk, early Malignus Youth songs featured fast tempos, 4/4 time, slow introductions followed by fast verse-chorus-verse, and lyrics with social relevance.

As their musical style developed, song tempos became faster (up to 340 - 380 beats per minute). Shouted vocals developed into three-part harmonies. Song structures became more complicated. Guitar solos were very rare, only occurring in three songs in their 60-song catalog. Instead, the single guitar would serve as accompaniment to fluid, singing, melodic bass lines played by Shelden in high ranges uncommon in hardcore punk. Four part polyrhythms consisting of guitar, vocal and Armenta's drum lines served to counterpoint Shelden's bass guitar. Complicated minor and modal chord progressions appear in some songs.

Polyrhythm simultaneous use of two or more conflicting rhythms

Polyrhythm is the simultaneous use of two or more conflicting rhythms, that are not readily perceived as deriving from one another, or as simple manifestations of the same meter. The rhythmic conflict may be the basis of an entire piece of music (cross-rhythm), or a momentary disruption. Polyrhythms can be distinguished from irrational rhythms, which can occur within the context of a single part; polyrhythms require at least two rhythms to be played concurrently, one of which is typically an irrational rhythm.

Minor chord chord having a root, a minor third, and a perfect fifth; e.g.  A–C–E or C–E♭–G

In music theory, a minor chord is a chord having a root, a minor third, and a perfect fifth. When a chord has these three notes alone, it is called a minor triad. For example, the minor triad built on C, called a C minor triad, has pitches C–E–G:

In the theory of Western music, a mode is a type of musical scale coupled with a set of characteristic melodic behaviors. Musical modes have been a part of western musical thought since the Middle Ages, and were inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music. The name mode derives from the Latin word modus, "measure, standard, manner, way, size, limit of quantity, method".

Other features that characterized Malignus Youth's musical style were the use of authentic cadences. These chord progressions of 4 to 6 chords would repeat at a fast tempo giving the listener an intuitive feeling of tension-release-tension. Also, by taking turns on the lead vocal, an impression would be created that a single vocalist was singing fast lyrics for a long duration, all in one breath without interruption.


First self-titled EP release (1988)

In January 1988, using a late 1970s model four-track reel to reel, eight songs were recorded live in Martin's parents' bedroom-turned-studio. These eight tracks were released on a clear vinyl extended-play (EP) album, self-entitled Malignus Youth on their new label Youth Inc Records. These albums are now out of print.

The Southern Arizona hardcore scene (1988-1990)

In the late 1980s, the active Punk Rock scene in Cochise County surged new bands such as Dover Trench, Opinion Zero, Headspace (not to be confused with the British band), Blood Spasm, Civil Order, Feast Upon Cactus Thorns, Cosmic Jackhammer, and many more. Later in 1989, Malignus Youth was booked on the same bill as Bad Religion. They also opened for Citizen Fish, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, and The Misfits.

Bad Religion American melodic hardcore band

Bad Religion is an American punk rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1980. The band is noted for covering several topics in their lyrics, such as society in general, religion, politics, equal rights, the media, humanitarianism, personification, mental disorder and the use of drugs. Musically, they are noted for their melodic sensibilities and extensive use of three-part vocal harmonies. The band has experienced multiple line-up changes, with singer Greg Graffin being the band's only constant member, though fellow founding members Jay Bentley and Brett Gurewitz have since rejoined, and guitarist Brian Baker has performed with the group since 1994. The most recent additions to the band are guitarist Mike Dimkich and drummer Jamie Miller, who joined in 2013 and 2015 respectively. To date, Bad Religion has released sixteen studio albums, two live albums, three compilation albums, three EPs, and two live DVDs. They are considered to be one of the best-selling punk rock acts of all time, having sold over five million albums worldwide.

Crisis 7-inch EP (1990)

In 1990, a second EP, Crisis, was released as a limited edition red and white vinyl which has since become out of print. The music contained themes of conflict, personal loss, fear of growing up, hopelessness and suicide. Crisis marked a diversion from punk rock conventions by adopting composition techniques associated with classical music.

More To It LP (1991)

These unique elements of Malignus Youth's music were displayed in the 1991 full-length LP More To It, released on blue vinyl. This album is now out of print.

More To It took the shape of a concept album, the resolution of the "crisis" explored in the previous EP, united by keys and themes, and partially inspired by the writings of philosopher Immanuel Kant Arguably, More To It represented Malignus Youth musical style at its most sophisticated. The album featured artistic elements and experimental tangents in different musical styles, and even slight canonic variation. This range of borrowed styles demonstrated a familiarity with musical theory mostly uncharacteristic of punk rock.

On tour (1992)

Large audience responses subsequently encouraged a growing respect for Malignus Youth within the punk rock world, with other established artists eventually attesting to their quality.

Over the next three years, Malignus Youth toured the western United States, playing at the legendary Tacoland in San Antonio, at Northern California's 924 Gilman Street with Green Day, in Salt Lake City with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and in Fort Collins, Colorado with The Offspring. Mailignus Youth had also opened up for Fear, Citizen Fish, D.R.I, and The Misfits,

"Missa Brevis" and "Ephemeral"

Between tours in 1993, Malignus Youth released a setting of the Roman Catholic Mass, designated "Missa brevis". This work, an homage to the Western Classical tradition of composing music for liturgical texts, and featuring the Greek and Latin text with additional English lyrics, was released with additional unreleased tracks, collectively called Ephemeral. This album is now out of print.

Breakup and compilation "Vinyl CD" (1994-1998)

Following their 1994 tour, the members of Malignus Youth separated to pursue different academic and musical goals and unofficially disbanded.

In the next few years, as the original vinyl pressings became rarer and rarer, demand for Malignus Youth on CD prompted a 1998 re-release of the Malignus Youth EP, the Crisis EP and the full-length LP, More To It on a single CD entitled Vinal CD. These CDs are now out of print.

Tucson reunion show and documentary (2014)

In summer 2014, Malignus Youth reunited for a one-time fundraising show at the Rialto Theater in Tucson, AZ. Footage from this concert was recorded for a Kickstarter-funded documentary, "Family: The Story of Malignus Youth" (working title). [1] [2] [3]


Malignus Youth maintains a web site on Facebook, Fans all over the world continue to discuss Malignus Youth and their music.


7" EPs

[2 pressings of 500 copies - clear vinyl first pressing, black vinyl second pressing]

[1 pressing of 1000 copies - 500 on red vinyl, 500 on white vinyl]


[1200 copies pressed on blue vinyl]

Home video

Live at the Sweatlodge - March 24, 1990 - Bisbee, Arizona (Youth Inc.)

Compilation appearances

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