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JFH Music Review

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 12 tracks: 41 minutes, 38 seconds
Street Date: September 27, 2011

When it comes to southern metal, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster have been one of the more revered names to come along in past decade. From their self-titled album to their two follow ups (titled II and III), Maylene spent their time finding new takes on the southern metal sound, and they've grown and matured as each new album released. 2009's III was released to mixed reviews, but it seemed to be their strongest album to date. Two years later, the anthology continues with IV, but does it continue their usual pattern of growth?

IV opens up with "In Dead We Dream," which gives us a taste of that Maylene sound we've come to love. It seems to lack something, but you have to keep in mind that they've gone from having six guys playing on stage to being a fourpiece (which removes two guitars from the mix, though they have layered guitars where needed here). This may also be the explanation for the sound change during the rest of the album, which isn't anything like typical Maylene. "In Dead We Dream" is the only song that can really be considered any type of metal. The rest of IV is like a southern rock album, but with traces of influence from bands like Shinedown and Theory of a Deadman. One of the singles they've released before the album's release is one called "Open Your Eyes," which is a perfect example of this sound change. It's pretty generic rock, with some heavy riffs, but a severe lack of creativity or that Maylene charm that fans expect from the band. Then there are songs like "Taking On Water," which sounds like a modern and moderately-heavier Lynyrd Skynyrd song. Two songs later is "Come For You," which unfortunately brings to mind the band Hinder. I do like the hook a little, but I feel like I enjoy the catchiness of it rather than calling it well-written.

So far, I've given the impression that Maylene's new direction in sound isn't a good change. While there are some tracks that really left me disappointed, IV also has some shining moments as well. Even though some of the tracks are really reminiscent of some of the current worst rock bands, I do like the touch Maylene gave them. Whether it's the abrasive lyrics from Dallas Taylor, or the hard-driving guitars that are prevalent throughout the heavier tracks, they do give the songs a little bit of a Maylene twist. The song "Drought of '85" is really slow and down to earth, with a heavy Pink Floyd influence; it's odd, but I like it. However, the top tracks are closer to the beginning of the album. The classic-Maylene-style song "In Dead We Dream" gets things off to a great start (even if it is a little misrepresentative of the rest of IV), and I enjoyed "Faith Healer (Bring Me Down)." It's a mid-tempo rock song, with almost a (dare I say it?) pop rock vibe in the verses. It may be the most uncharacteristic Maylene song of all of IV, reminding me somewhat of bands like Blue October and Finger Eleven.

For the last two tracks, we have "Drought of '85" and "Off to the Laughing Place," which are both odd tracks. As odd as they are, they're also pretty characteristic of a Maylene album ending. I mentioned the Pink Floyd qualities of "Drought of '85," but it's also similar to past Maylene songs like "Tale of the Runaways." "Off to the Laughing Place" is actually borderline creepy. Like "Just Wanted To Make Mother Proud" from their self-titled album, it features quiet music with Taylor's slightly-broken, almost desperate-sounding vocals telling a tale of despair that keeps in line (in some part) with the story of Mother Maylene and her Sons of Disaster.

After three successful albums from Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, I can't help but be disappointed at the outcome of the fourth installment. It has its moments, but the majority of IV is filled with mildly-altered-for-Maylene rock songs that may have come from some warehouse full of them. However, this is only one album; Maylene is a good band, and they deserve the love and support they've received over the years. I don't feel like they've improved on their sound again, but I don't think this is the end for the band. I, like many fans who may be turned off by this addition to their discography, look forward to V.

- Review date: 9/23/11, written by Scott Fryberger of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

After reading tons of posts online, I have to say I'm in the minority when I say that Maylene and the Sons of Disaster have just released their best album to date with IV. No joking, I'm dead serious. Dallas and company have finally embraced southern rock and not southern metal with a splash of metalcore thrown in - but southern rock. The guys are much less Underoath now and much more Gov't Mule or Drive-By Truckers. They lose a little edge at times, but the new sound is worth it. Don't get me wrong, I think III was great, but I love the new sound. "In Dead We Dream," "Save Me," "Fate Dreams," "Never Enough" and "Cat's Walk" are completely rocking tracks, while "Faith Healer (Bring Me Down)" and "Drought of '85" are slower acoustic based. "Faith Healer" even has a slightly pop vibe. I'm most confused by the fact that some say it's not southern and it's a radio sell-out album. I believe this album is a throwback to 70's southern rock, where it actually began. From the album cover to the fuzz they used for distortion, it's beautiful, classic even. So you may ask, "If you love it so much why only a four star rating?" My only complaint and disappointment is the seemingly flippant use of the word "hell" in both "Drought of '85" ["If no one had answers and love had no meaning, then what the hell are we fighting for?"] and "Off to the Laughing Place" ["I'm scared as hell I'll walk this earth alone."] I'm also pretty skeptical of the line "Take a moment to weep for the hurting, but I'll be damned if you weep for me.", which is also found in "Off to the Laughing Place." No matter how good it is musically, I just don't find the lyrics acceptable for a band being promoted in the Christian market. Mild profanities aside, if you are a fan of a more classic style of southern rock, this is a must-have. I am thrilled that you guys have stepped outside of your former selves for this record. Keep it up. - Michael Weaver, 10/6/11


. Record Label: Ferret Music
. Album length: 12 tracks: 41 minutes, 38 seconds
. Street Date: September 27, 2011
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)
. Buy It:

  1. In Dead We Dream (3:16)
  2. Save Me (4:00)
  3. Faith Healer (Bring Me Down) (3:38)
  4. Open Your Eyes (3:15)
  5. Killing Me Slow (4:05)
  6. Taking On Water (4:06)
  7. Fate Games (2:16)
  8. Come For You (3:59)
  9. Never Enough (2:52)
  10. Cat's Walk (2:38)
  11. Drought Of '85 (4:12)
  12. Off To The Laughing Place (3:27)


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