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Malice - 'New Breed Of Godz' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/c5/09/a6/2766_malicenewbreedofgods_1348254705.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 21, 2012    
 
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Artist

Artist

A huge disappointment.

Malice first burst out of the burgeoning early 80’s LA metal scene by snagging two of the nine tracks on the now legendary ‘Metal Massacre’ compilation on the fledgling Metal Blade label. This, together with an impressive Michael Wagener produced demo, found the band in the unenviable position of a record label bidding war, which was eventually won by Atlantic Records. Malice weren’t cut from the same cloth as most of the lipstick n’ spandex wannabes wandering around Sunset Strip back then. They were a studs and leather heavy metal band who, let’s face it, bore more than a passing resemblance to Judas Priest. Well it didn’t help that guitarist Jay Reynolds was a dead ringer for KK Downing and vocal styling of James Neil wasn’t dissimilar to that of the Metal God himself Rob Halford!

Atlantic were so impressed with the demo that it formed one half of their debut while the remaining five tracks were recorded with producer Ashley Howe. Released in 1985 ‘In The Beginning’ perhaps veered a little close to Priest at times but all the same it was still an enjoyable slab of radio friendly melodic metal. The Max Norman produced ‘Licence To Kill’, released a year later, proved to be a more cohesive and slightly heavier record that saw the band begin to break free of their Priest pretensions and mould their own sound. Both albums failed to make an impact however and following 1989’s ‘Crazy In The Night’ EP Malice called it a day. That is until now...

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Malice return with three fifths of their original line up - completed by Black ‘N Blue sticksman Pete Holmes and Helstar vocalist James Rivera - and have just unleashed a new album, the aptly titled, ‘New Breed Of Godz’. Well when I say new, eight of the twelve cuts are re-recordings of songs that first appeared on their first two albums so it only offers four new compositions. Granted, stripped of their 80’s production values, the new recordings do have more bite about them but Joe Floyd’s sterile, flat production has just sucked all the life out of them. It doesn’t help that Rivera, although a decent fit for the band, can’t match his predecessor. While James Neil would effortlessly go up a couple of octaves and let his voice soar, Rivera has a propensity for using high pitched wailing instead that gets old very quickly I can tell you. Net result? ‘Stellar Masters’ et al are robbed of all their original charm and end up more like Stellar Disasters! The new songs offer little solace. They are competent at best! The guitar bridge on ‘New Breed Of Godz’ is lame and ham-fisted. And the god-awful chorus on ‘Branded’ has to be heard to be believed!

The accompanying bonus DVD avoids ‘New Breed…’ from being a total crapshoot. But it’s the vintage bootleg footage from 1987 that shines once again, capturing the band at their peak, simply tearing the roof off a club show in Anaheim. Although the quality of the video isn’t great, it doesn’t detract from the hunger in the band’s performance as they put on a real show on a cramped stage with James Neil leading the charge like a man possessed. I’m afraid that the other present day material on the DVD just pales in comparison.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t save ‘New Breed…’ from being a huge disappointment. If Malice are going to sustain any form of comeback they’ll have to do much better next time.

Alister Strachan

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