When Scott W asked me a few weeks ago if I was interested in reviewing the upcoming album from Malice, I asked if it was the Malice I remember from the 80s. Surprisingly it was and they had reformed a few years ago with their core members being guitarists Mick Zane and Jay Reynolds, and bassist Mark Behn (leaving the band last year). They replaced Behn, added a new drummer and a vocalist you may have heard of – James Rivera. Rivera, of course, is known from his other bands, primarily Helstar, Seven Witches, and Vicious Rumors. Here they present us with their latest album, New Breed of Godz.
Now, I came into this review thinking New Breed of Godz was a new album – it really isn’t. It is 8 of Malice’s songs re-recorded from their 2 previous full-length releases and 4 new tracks. If you aren’t familiar with Malice, these may all be new to you. It has been a long time since I heard them, but from what I remember the re-recorded songs are well done (though they don’t really add anything new to the originals), and are certainly “traditional” in feel. I also would contend that only 2 of the new songs are really good and the other 2 are somewhat filler material. Aside from the spelling of Godz, (I realize it is reference to Godz of Thunder, but come on, these guys aren’t 17 years old), Malice has made a decent offering to the metal world, giving us an “old school” flavor of speed/power/traditional metal.
Malice was known as a Judas Priest clone and they have done little to dispel that interpretation. Considering that 8 of the songs were written in the 80s, I guess it is no surprise. I am a bit disappointed that they attempted (and succeeded) at staying so close to the original works. The band has been back together for long enough to have put together a proper album rather than rehashing some of their “best of” songs.
The musical performances on New Breed of Godz are good for the most part, with some glimpses of greatness, particularly in the guitar solos. Rivera certainly adds his recognizable vocal stamp to the album, providing a good performance throughout, although his upper register is not quite as strong as it used to be. In fact, I think he would do well to stay out of it. His lower range is still powerful and fits the music very well here and I enjoy his voice. Drumming is solid, but not particularly flashy or complicated. Production values are high, as everything is crisp and clear. Gotta say the album art is pretty cool too.
Standout tracks on the album are the title track (new), Hell Rider (biker metal!), Branded (new), and Stellar Masters. Here is the preview video for the title track.
Not a killer album, but not a dud either, New Breed of Godz fits into the resurgence of traditional metal. If you dig this style, I recommend it, but it probably isn’t a must have, particularly since 2/3 of the songs are not new.
I hear the sound in a METAL way.