Balance And Composure
UnderWerket, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/10
Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster
Written by: PP on 20/11/2011 04:59:11
With each passing album, Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster step further and further away from their southern metal roots. What began as a seamless transition into the realm of southern rock'n'roll with whiskey-drenched vocals and dirtily distorted guitars has now been completed by the most significant transformation in the history of the band. Their fourth album, "IV", all but abandons their metal roots, and even their southern roots to a large extent, replaced by straight up arena hard rock in the vein of Alter Bridge. Forget about lining these guys up next to Norma Jean, He Is Legend or Every Time I Die anymore.
As strange as that comparison might initially sound, a quick listen to a song like "Save Me" or "Open Your Eyes" (which even shares a title with an AB song) makes it unavoidable as especially the former is practically cloned from either of the two latest Alter Bridge albums. That is to say, Maylene are now a hard rock band by all audible measures. But it gets worse. "Faith Healer (Bring Me Down") is a safe, radio-friendly pop rock ballad with a couple of crunchy riffs thrown in to disguise it as something else. Later on the band goes overboard with 80s cheese on "Drought Of '85", which sounds like it was copied from Whitesnake or any of the like-minded 80s hard rockers. I'm serious by the way. While it's a reasonably catchy song, it completely lacks the edge, energy, and groove that dominated Maylene's sound in the past. "Taking On Water" is another example in the vein of "Drought Of '85", where you simply wouldn't believe it's the same band we're talking about if placed next to, say, "Memories Of The Grove" or "Dry The River". It's as if the band took a couple of pages from Lynyrd Skynyrd's songbook and mistook them as their own.
Opening song "In Dead We Dream" is the only song that sounds like classic Maylene here. Maybe it's intended as a soft landing for old fans looking to hear more of the same southern rock the band is famous for, but either way, the songs that come afterwards are pure hard rock. There's no way around it. But that begs the question to be asked: are they at least good hard rock songs? The answer to that is a hesitant yes. The two AB-sounding numbers are the highlights on the disc with monster catchy choruses designed with the arenas in mind. They are big, expansive...dare I say epic moments that certainly push Maylene's songwriting to a whole new plane of existence. Still, one has to question the genuinity of the band after a release like this. It's a good record in its genre, but to me, it reeks of selling out. Perhaps the band simply got tired of playing small to medium-sized venues and figured it's time to capitalize on the American south's love for radio rock with a tiny bit of southern twist to it. That's "IV" in a nutshell for you.
Download: Save Me, Open Your Eyes
For the fans of: Alter Bridge, Whitesnake, Black Stone Cherry, Lynyrd Skynyrd
Release date 27.09.2011