Since their 2005 self-titled debut, Dallas Taylor’s band Maylene and the Sons of Disaster have proved to be some of the best southern metal in the game, and they continue to have a style that doesn’t seem to need fixing. With their newest album, a continuation of II from 2007, the band has followed in the footsteps of Led Zeppelin, naming it simply III. The album picks up right where the last left off, easing into a porch setting with bugs buzzing around before the beginning riffs of “Waiting On My Deathbed” come in, foreshadowed by some impressive banjo picking. Drums come in to signify the band still has their breakdown power, reminding one of “Tough As John Jacobs” from their debut.
As you listen to the album, you’ll realize there’s really not much different here from their previous two albums. Usually I’m a big push for experimentation and such, but when certain bands come in and just blow away the competition, such as Maylene, I tend to agree with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Not all of the album is the same as previous albums, such as the album mid-point “Listen Close” in which Dallas adopts a lower, typical singing voice, and gives the song a really good classic rock sound, which is evident on other tracks as well. It’s good to see a band that does their own genre really well still try to push their own limits. The good old Maylene classics are there, such as the sure-fire single “Just A Shock”, which has some riffs in it that will surely impress any Maylene fan. “Step Up (I’m On It)” is another Maylene staple, and will likely get a lot of live play during their upcoming tour with Emery.
Lyrically, Maylene doesn’t disappoint. Some of the best lyrics come in the form of “The Old Iron Hills”, where Taylor sings the chorus, “Back to the days where we still said grace / and a man’s word’s all he had”. This song will surely appeal to anyone who’s been far from home for a long time and misses the way things were. It seems my only problem with this album is that it feels a bit short, with three of the 11 tracks coming in at less than three minutes long. However, it ends up being the second longest of their three albums, but if it wasn’t for the 5 minute instrumental ballad tacked on at the end, it would be their shortest album. The ballad tends to be a little lacking, with it being so long and having no lyrics at all. I would have been happy to have another headbanger added onto the end, or another track like “Just Wanted To Make Mother Proud” from their debut, but Maylene has been known for their ending instrumentals, like on II and now III. “Oh Lonely Grave” starts out as a ballad but quickly changes to a headbanging frenzy that will please many Maylene fans.
As I said, Maylene has decided not to push the envelope too much on their third release, and diehard fans along with mediocre fans will find plenty more to love if they’ve found pleasure in the last two releases. Another solid release from Dallas and his crew.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5