Artist: Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster
Genre: Southern Metal
Label: Ferret Records
As the owner of a very small independent record label, most people will think I’m crazy for saying this, but I think file-sharing, torrents, and the like, are absolutely brilliant. It is easily one of the best concepts to hit the music industry since the mix tape. The problem is, no one has really figured out how to harness it’s true capabilities quite yet. Radiohead sort of came close, as did Girl Talk, but they both still missed the mark a bit. See, about 80% of the music I listen to today, I would have never given a shot if I had to spend $15 on a CD, if by some chance my friend bought a copy, and burned it for me, then sure, but if I had to buy it with my own money? Not a chance. I know that sounds terrible, but I’m pretty sure most people wouldn’t spend their hard earned money on 10 songs or so from a band they had never really heard before, but had been told good things about. Maybe people used to do that, but times have changed. One band that I always use as a perfect example of the economics of such a thing are Maylene and The Sons of Disaster. I loved Underoath with Dallas Taylor, and so naturally, I was interested in his new band, but I wasn’t about to spend $15 or so on a hunch, but I wanted to see what they were about. So I downloaded their self-titled album after it came out. After that, I was sold. I’ve seen em live a few times, I’ve bought a few t-shirts, I even bought the pre-order package for III, the one that came with a branded cigar box, Maylene flag, and spent shotgun shells. It was awesome. The money they lost from that one album sale has been more than recouped from the number I’ve times I’ve seen them, other merch I’ve bought from them, and the number of new fans I’ve amassed for them over the years.
So it really isn’t any secret that I’m a big Maylene fan, but I do have to admit, it’s almost a blind following, I know I like their old albums, but the line up changes so often, I have no idea what the next album will bring. II was amazing, I was sold on III after I heard “Just A Shock”, but their newest album, IV could have gone either way with me. I’m always going to be a fan of that unabashedly Southern Metal style of theirs, but their first single, “Open Your Eyes” sounded like quite the departure from that, using more clean cut vocals, in favor of Taylor’s signature dirty, throaty yell. As concerned as I was, the opening track “In Dead We Dream” proved me wrong immediately, there was no mistaking it for anything other than a filthy Maylene song. That being said, I’m not still not quite sold on their use of layered clean vocals scattered throughout the album, but most blatantly so on “In Dead We Dream”; it employs a fairly odd harmony, which comes off as a bit flat, and monotone. But Dallas’ yells, and the powerful clean vocals, with more intense melodies are spot on, as usual, blending flawlessly with the good ol’ boy, southern metal instrumentals.
Old school Maylene fans like myself will probably require a few listens to really get into this album, IV is definitely a departure from what we have come to expect from their previous releases, but there is still no mistaking this for anything other than an album Maylene And The Sons of Disaster. This album follows a different dynamic, it doesn’t immediately hook fans with a single, causing them to like the rest of the album based off the charm of the one song. And I didn’t realize this at first, and I was really quite worried, I am a huge Maylene fan, and I didn’t want to have to give the first album of theirs that I got a chance to publicly review a bad score, but luckily I don’t have to. This album isn’t going to lure fans in with one or two outstanding singles, like III did, IV is best taken in as a complete package. And thankfully, I can still be Maylene’s biggest advocate, with no shame whatsoever.
Review by: Mike Hogan