|Malice - 'New Breed Of Godz' (SPV / Steamhammer)|
|Written by Ian Bell|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 04:00|
Malice originally formed in 1981 and released two albums and an EP in the process, namely 'In The Beginning', 'Licence To Kill' and 'Crazy In The Night'. Their major claim to fame includes being the only band with two tracks on the infamous 'Metal Massacre' compilation album, which also included and launched the careers of Metallica (who famously supported Malice at the Troubadour in L.A. in '82), Ratt, and Black'n'Blue. Malice also had high profile guest slots on major tours with Alice Cooper, WASP, and Slayer before they eventually split in 1988 mainly due to problems with then singer James Neal (he turned down the opportunity to be part of the band reunion in 2007).
Fast forward to 2012 then, and Malice have bagged themselves a worldwide deal with SPV/ Steamhammer and this version of the band features original members Jay Reynolds (guitars), Mick Zane (guitars), and Mark Behn (bass) and joining them is singer James Rivera (Helstar) and drummer Pete Holmes (of Black 'n' Blue fame). Having re-recorded eight tracks from the first two albums for this album in addition there are four new tracks which new bass player Robert Cardenas (Agent Steel) plays his part on, as he and Behn rotate duties dependant on obligations with other projects. 'New Breed Of Godz' as this release has been entitled has been produced by Joe Floyd, former producer for both Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford only adding further to the comparisons that has followed the band's career since their formation for sounding very similar to Judas Priest.
As soon as you hit play make no bones about it everyone will be thinking the same, this sounds a hell of a lot like Judas Priest, and a lot of this comes down to James Rivera possessing an incredible voice making him perfect for the Malice sound, he sounds more like classic Halford than the legend does himself these days. Whilst (rapid) firing up behind him you have Reynolds and Zane delivering a premier league twin guitar attack straight from the master class of Tipton and Downing or maybe a stretch Smith and Murray with the bass and drums thundering away to deliver near perfect old school metal, but with the sound quality of the modern era, the production is loud and crystal clear.
Opening track and first new song 'New Breed Of Godz' is the perfect example of this and if it were a new Priest song then everyone would be declaring how the mighty Priest are back on top of their game for sure. 'Hell Rider', 'Stellar Masters', 'Air Attack', and 'Godz Of Thunder' are all reworked from the debut album 'In The Beginning' whilst the follow up album 'Licence To Kill' provides the reworked versions of 'Against The Empire', 'Sinister Double', 'Circle Of Fire', and 'Chain Gang Woman'. I'm not familiar with the band's back catalogue from back in their glory days but these songs in their current format all sound massive and you can only wonder why they weren't revered as classics back in the day. Out of the remaining new songs on offer 'Branded' is the closest Malice come to producing a filler whilst 'Winds Of Death (Angel Of Light)' is one of those nasty evil power ballad thingys that only a band from the big hair era could write and if I'm honest it is average at best, 'Slipping Through the Cracks' meanwhile brings the song writing back to the high standard of delivery that is provided with the re recorded songs. Even though this is a collection of songs from a bygone era mixed with songs from the modern day they all come together as fresh recordings to sound like a near perfect album package of metal and not like some disjointed project that it could very well have sounded.
The other bonus of later day releases and technology is the addition of a bonus DVD showing rare live bootleg footage from 1987 which is obviously copied from a well played vhs tape but gives it some charm even with the poor sound and picture quality, three further live tracks from the Keep It True festival in Italy last year and the making of 'New Breed Of Godz' album which has an interesting interview even if the questions are a little predictable but it certainly doesn't diminish the interest.
If you are a Malice fan of old or a potential new fan intrigued by the band's rich musical history then there is enough here for you to make this an essential purchase, or if you simply can't wait for a new Judas Priest release this will help fill your void. Malice plan is to tour extensively from now on and I for one will be looking to see if I can fit a show in.
To pick up your copy of 'New Breed Of Godz (CD+DVD) - CLICK HERE