Review Summary: Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster's second album drives the band even further into southern rock territory and the result is and enjoyable album full of heavy southern rock.
Depending on the listener's personal taste in metalcore, Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster's (MATSOD) second album is either a huge leap forward or a step back. Their first album was an enjoyable romp through metalcore tinged with southern hard rock where choruses were out and screaming was in. Their second album replaces much of the metalcore with hard driving southern rock and proves to be a solid sophomore effort, even surpassing its predecessor in many areas.
There appears to have been a lot of growth between albums in a number of ways. First, Dallas Taylor's voice is much more gritty shout than primal scream. He by no means takes his foot off the gas, but there is a distinct difference in his vocals on II. While hints of his past can be found in the album's opener along with "Darkest of Kin", he seems to have toned it down a little in favor of a Lemmy Kilmister-esque growl. While not quite as intense as his vocals on the previous album, they fit the album's style perfectly.
The guitars have also progressed to a more hard rock overdrive. Once again, this suits the material much better. The riffs that open the songs as well as the guitar solos are much more southern rock than metal. The guitar work found in "Dry The River", "Raised By The Tide", and "Everyone Needs A Hasting" is a great example of this style change.
The lyrics mostly continue the story of the Barker gang throughout but Taylor is quick to remind the listener that the lyrics that apply to the Barkers do not represent him in "Dry The River":
Take caution if you choose to read
These are not my beliefs
Writing from the lost 30s
Other topics include struggles from being on the road ("Plenty Strong And Plenty Wrong"), desire to seek the Lord's wisdom ("Everyone Needs A Hasting"), and pleas to turn from sin ("Death Is An Alcoholic").
The album closes with "Tale Of The Runaways" and "The Day Hell Broke Loose In Sicard Hollow". The former is an acoustic number full of dobros and softer vocals that seem to wrap up the Barker gang story while the latter is an acoustic instrumental. While a significant change in style, neither seem out of place and they close the album nicely.
All in all, a solid album full of hard rocking songs with pounding riffs that set the stage for Dallas Taylor's signature howl. For anyone looking for some heavy southern rock, this is about as good as it gets.