Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster have gained quite a fan base over the last few years, with ex-Underoath front man taking on a southern style that just seemed to work for them. Like Oh, Sleepers new album, I didn't even realize this was coming out, but I was pretty excited when I saw it. Their first three albums have been great. So How does IV hold up?
IV is their worst album to date.
Now stay with me for a moment. Self titled, II, and III were all fantastic, out of which I'm not sure I can pick a favorite. Although it might be between Self titled and III. IV however is a totally different album. They've shied away from their southern metalcore sound and are just southern hard rock. A move made by one of my favorite bands He Is Legend with their last release (although they held some of the heavier aspects and weren't as southern sounding as Maylene is.) IV is going to lose them a huge part of their fan base, but it might open up doors for a new fan base for them. There are parts of this album that make me think of Brand New, and there are parts that sound like Old Maylene. But for the most part they sound like a totally new band. Gone are the raspy screams that dominated older albums (Which were probably my favorite part of this band. Dallas' voice was fantastic.) The guitar tone sounds worse than before. I'm not sure if they were trying to make the guitar sound older or something, but it's a bit off and the guitars always seem a bit distant. Songs like Never Enough retain some of the old sound, but I'm really disappointed in the change in Vocal style throughout the album.
Now, something good about the album. If you like hard rock, the likes of Alter Bridge or Shinedown, you'll probably enjoy this album. Songs like In Dead We Dream and Fates Game make this album a fun listen. And even though I bashed the guitar tone before, it works for the sound they were trying for on this album. This album is better if you don' think of it as a Maylene album. Also Drought Of '85 might be my favorite track. It's haunting and dissonant and feels like it has real meaning for the guys. It's a great song. Actually the last few songs of the album are probably the best part of the entire thing. They are very different songs for them, but it feels like they have more story to them which works well.
In the end this is far from album of the year (I think Oh, Sleeper might have that covered) and it's definitely not the best Maylene album by a long shot. But it's a decent attempt at something new for the band. Check it out, but know ahead of time it's going to be a love it or hate it album.