Review Summary: If Lynyrd Skynyrd played music with balls ....
OK, right off the bat I'l go ahead and say that I am a Dallas Taylor fanboy. I loved his work in Underoath, especially in Cries of the Past, where I thought he was at his peak vocal wise. So when I heard that he was forming a new band called Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, I was obviously very excited. I rushed out to my nearest cd store when the album was released, without having listened to any of the singles or anything. I hurried my butt home and put it in my cd player, awaiting the glorious tunes about to burst forth, and then I was hit with a southern rock/metal hybrid, and I was confused.
Having not known that Maylene was a southern rock band, I was sort of shocked upon hearing Dallas' gritty voice and a real lack of "brutal" screams like he had done in Underoath. I decided to give the album a listen though and I am glad I did. Combining elements found in metalcore, such as heavy distortion and palm muted riffs, with the southern licks and gritty vocals found in rock music from that area of the USA, Maylene presented a whole new realm of music to me. From the heavy opener, Caution, Dangerous Curves Ahead, all the way to the soothing ending Just Wanted to Make Mother Proud, Maylene delivers a debut album full of riffs, chugs, and fried chicken style music.
The triple guitar trifecta of Maylene throws out metal and southern inspired licks left and right, from the southern pull-off section in Bang, the Witch is Dead, to the intro riff in Lady at the Gate, this group keeps things unique and fresh, never getting repetitive. Some interesting solos are scattered throughout the albums, and the guitars evoke memories of guitar-laden southern music like AC/DC and Lynard Skynard. The drums are nothing interesting, aside from the occasional cowbell use. They're used as an effective backing to the guitars and Dallas' vocals. The bass is actually audible on parts of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster
but is still low in the mix. The other aspect of Maylene's sound is the vocals.
Dallas Taylor is at the top of his game on Maylene's debut release. Going anywhere from the almost clean singing found in the chorus of Gusty Like the Wind, to the harsh vocal approach in Hell on the Rise, Dallas provides vocal variety not usually found in an album of this type. His gritty yell/sing does not get annoying, and helps give the album part of it's southern feel. Although his clean vocals are not utilized on this album (unlike II and III), this does not hamper the album in any way.
Overall this album is a must have if you are a fan of southern rock, Dallas Taylor, or just want something different to add to your collection. Maylene and the Sons of Disaster
opened me up to a whole new side of music that I did not know existed before, and hopefully it will do the same for you.