Maylene & the Sons of Disaster

IV

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For some heavy metal bands, such words as "growth" and "maturation" to describe a new album could signal the beginning of the end. But both descriptions are fitting -- in a good way -- on the fourth release overall by Southern metallists Maylene & the Sons of Disaster, imaginatively titled IV. On their earlier releases, the group's singer, Dallas Taylor, relied a bit too much on Phil Anselmo-isms (namely, hollering). But on IV, the group focuses more on the Southern rock side of things, and injects more melody into the proceedings to boot. A perfect example of this hybrid is the tune "Faith Healer (Bring Me Down)," which is so melodic that it sounds like it could be an honest-to-goodness rock radio hit. Elsewhere, the aforementioned "boogie element" is much more apparent, especially on such selections as "In Dead We Dream" (which contains a gargantuanly greasy riff that would make both Clutch and Down green with envy), "Open Your Eyes," "Taking on Water," "Fate Games," and "Cat's Walk." And like all good Southern rockers past and present, Maylene & the Sons of Disaster just can't turn down an opportunity to pick up their acoustics and strum away, as evidenced by "Drought of '85." However, to keep listeners on their toes, the album closes with an artsy-fartsy bit, "Off to the Laughing Place." If you're looking for some modern-day muscular boogie, you've come to the right place with Maylene & the Sons of Disaster's IV.

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