Malice-New Breed of Godz
Oh, look here's another 80's band attempting a comeback without their original vocalist and most of the album will be re-recorded songs. Yes, that sounds like a recipe for disaster or wasted time. Don't run away, this is a different story. That's right because this is Malice with a 3/5 original line-up for the re-recordings. Guitarists Mick Zane and Jay Reynolds return which is welcome news. Original bass player Mark Behn plays on the re-recorded versions and Robert Cardenas play on the new tracks. Pete Holmes (Black -n- Blue) fills the spot behind the drum kit. Wait, who could possible step in and replace a powerful singer like James Neal? Ah, here is the kicker-they brought in James Rivera (Helstar, Seven Witches and plenty of others). So the line-up is solid yet we get eight re-recordings and four originals. Re-recording parts of your back catalog can be an easy way out and some times the final product proves that thought. However, here Malice take four tracks each form their two 80's and instead of simply going through the paces they give them a highly charged workout. This isn't some old-timers just sleepwalking through their old songs. Old classics like "Hellrider" and "Circle of fire" have the fire lit under them with this new version of Malice kicking them out at full power. I have to admit the first time I listened to this album I skipped past "Stellar Masters". The reason being that I love the original so much I was afraid that hearing it re-done and without out James Neal singing it would be a huge let down and it might taint how I view the rest of the album. So the second time through the album I braced myself for it. Just like all the other re-recordings they hit this one out of the park too. They nailed the music in fact it's even tighter in several places. James Rivera excelled on this song in particular putting his all into every note. Here I am gushing about re-recorded oldies and have yet to touch on the four new tracks. The new songs are of similar style and the same high quality as the band's previous material. Surprisingly "Wings of death (Angel of light)" might be my favorite of the new selections. It's a power ballad but that sets it apart from much of what this band has done before plus it really them a chance to show their skills at a slightly different pace. "Branded" is another standout of the new material with it's pounding assault. All too often Malice have labeled as just a Judas Priest copy. Sure they sound like Priest but their talent and energy has allowed to go beyond being just a copy and they supply enough of their own ideas. Overall a nice comeback and they enough promise that I hope they put out some more original material soon.