There is a certain stigma that any band with a screaming aspect is associated with. That is, that as each new album is released, the band will go lighter and poppier until nothing recognizable remains. This is often a bad thing. Some bands go with this ideology, and the results are mixed. This is one of the times where its done right.
Maylene and the Sons of Disaster is most known because of former underOATH frontman Dallas Taylor's presence in the lineup. any fan of Taylor's gruff, tobacco juice tinged vocal deliver will be right at home here on III. There are three guitarists in the band, and while usually gimmicky and ineffective (Hawthorne Heights) Maylene manages to incorporate all three in unique and entertaining ways. The drumming is on par with genre standards, and the bass is hardly audible, which is expected. But the spotlight is definitely on the the guitars and vocals, and Taylor and company serve up some southern metal that puts He Is Legend to shame.
The amazing thing about III is, that unlike II, every song has at least a memorable part on it, and also unlike II, they bleed together a lot less.
Waiting On My Deathbed kicks off the album with the sound of cicadas buzzing before an acoustic and distinctly bluegrass/country guitar riff slowly blends in before the song erupts with the introduction of two more guitar parts, and then Taylor begins his throaty singing that blends so well with the raw musical aspect. Setting Scores By Burning Bridges definitely recalls both Maylene's first album and underOATH's early days. Taylor's guttural yet refined scream is the highlight of this track, supported by more fantastic triple-guitar work. Definitely reminiscent of their old song "Caution, Dangerous Curves Ahead." This is a good thing, as in my opinion thats the best thing they've ever written. Just a shock is a showcase of the guitarists abilities on this CD, and the intro riff is nothing short of amazing. Last Train Coming is a straightforward southern metal song, and is without a doubt one of this CD's best, with a catchy chorus with Taylor's screaming placed in the best moments. Step Up is yet another southern metal that is sure to become a staple of their live set. Opening up with a distorted guitar riff that is familiar yet fits with the structure of the song, Taylor's vocals take center stage yet again with extremely deep (tonal), almost spoken word verses, with the whole band contributing to the chorus. Listen Close is without a doubt the highlight of this CD, only rivaled by Settling Scores By Burning Bridges. Its distinguishing feature is one i expected to work against the band in every way: Clean vocals. Not Dallas' gruff singing, but completely clean, melodic singing. It works surprisingly well. Oh Lonely Grave starts out slow with solely guitars strumming along, and the song builds momentum until climaxing with one of the albums heaviest moments, before unwinding with mellow instrumentation and some singing.
In short, if you are looking for some southern rock, this is your album. Better than II, and on par with I, III is an excellent and well rounded album that anyone should be able to enjoy. Now lets just see if He Is Legend's new one can measure up to this. I somehow doubt it.
*If you ever get a chance to see this band live, do it. You won't regret it. End.