Released September 27th 2011
Reviewed by Adrian Garza
It would be a crime to call Maylene and the Sons of Disaster a Hardcore band after multiple listens of their new album, IV. Just to give some background, everybody that knows of Underoath’s old stuff (Act of Depression, Cries of the Past, Define the Great Line) knows of their old vocalist, Dallas Taylor. Those who know about Dallas know that after he left Underoath, he made a comeback with a new band that sported a familiar Metalcore sound, coupled a not-so-familiar Alabama growl, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster.
You could tell that as Maylene has matured as a band, they’ve been steering away from this old, Metalcore sound. Metalcore is good and fun, but why sound like all of the others? Why not be different? III was an indicator of this change, but IV pretty much is the change. It’s a straight up Southern Rock and Roll record. There are all sorts of influences that shine throughout the album, such as Ozzy Osborne, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Clutch, and even bands like Brand New and Pink Floyd.
The first thing that I noticed upon first listening to the record is just how more mature Dallas Taylor’s scream sounds. Of course anyone’s voice changes over time, its human nature. But there’s just something else to it. Maybe it was the way it was mixed?
In Dead We Dream, Open Your Eyes, and Cat’s Walk are prime examples of good ol’ fashioned Maylene with a Rock twist. Which is good and great, but it’s a sound that they use all too often in this record. I found that a lot of the faster songs sound all too much like eachother.
Like I said before, this is a straight up rock and roll record. You wouldn’t find anything remotely close to a breakdown here. It does have its metal moments, there are some sludgy metal riffs sprinkled here and there. Another new thing is a greater presence of slower songs. I would say that this record is split between one half “run of the mill Maylene” fast songs and one half “hey this is new” slow songs.
A common trait that I’ve noticed with this new record is the way that vocals have been double tracked and combined with a lot of reverb, something that’s very common in the indie rock genre. Some instances where this is obvious are the songs Save Me, and Come for You.
It’s notable that a good part of the record is full of songs that question God in such a real way. I for one don’t see much harm in this, we’re all human, even the disciples questioned at times. The last “song” of the record, Drought of 85’, has a line in the chorus that goes: “Will we all just be strangers knocking on empty doors?” Even Faith Healer (Bring Me Down) goes along with this theme. Drought segues into the closing track of the record, Off to the Laughing Place, one of the most spine chilling closing tracks that I’ve heard in a while.
There’s a difference between a lot of good songs that happen to be on a record, and a good record. Though there are some great songs on here, there isn’t enough substance to keep you going. It’s still a fun record, it’s still a dark and emotional record, but it still only comes off as just a standard Maylene release, which isn’t enough. I believe that this band is capable of so much more with this sound. I think that they’re only at the tip of the iceberg. IV proves to be a great album, just not one of their best.
Listen to: “Save Me”, “Faith Healer”, “Open Your Eyes”, and “Drought of 85’”
- In Dead We Dream
- Save Me
- Faith Healer (Bring Me Down)
- Open Your Eyes
- Killing Me Slow
- Taking on Water
- Fate Games
- Come for You
- Never Enough
- Cat’s Walk
- Drought of 85’
- Off to the Laughing Place