"New Breed of Godz"

By Dr. Abner Mality

I make no bones about it, the music of Malice is something I hold sacred. I consider their two albums of the 80's, "In The Beginning" and "License To Kill", to be absolute and utter classics of heavy metal. I often use the term "America's answer to Judas Priest" to describe them and I stick by that description today. They were not just an excellent Priest-inspired band, they were equal to the masters themselves when in full force.

Inevitably the time has now come for Malice to return, but I'm going to hold this reformation to a very strict and high standard because I love the original Malice so much. I don't think any singer can adequately replace the great James Neal, but Malice Mark II has certainly roped in a worthy substitute in James Rivera. In fact, he's a 100% natural replacement. The band's new drummer is Pete Holmes formerly of Black N' Blue and the remainder are all original members...guitarists Jay Reynolds and Mick Zane, bassist Mark Behn. So Malice 2012 would seem to be in good position to reclaim some old glory.

I can't really judge the result, because "New Breed of Godz" is mostly dedicated to re-recorded versions of Malice classics instead of new material. There are four new tracks here, but the bulk is newly shined up takes on Malice mainstays like "Sinister Double", "Against The Empire" and "Hell Rider". I love the originals so much, they just cannot be replaced. Rivera's voice is awesome, but I keep hearing James Neal on these songs. Does that mean the new Malice is a wash? No, absolutely not, because a good song is a good song and tracks such as "Circle of Fire", "Stellar Masters" and "Chain Gang Woman" are not just good, they're great and the new Malice does justice to them. It's just that there's no replacing the originals.

So that leaves the four newbies and its hard to judge based on them. The title track "New Breed of Godz" is pure thunderous steel with that Priestish feel to it. "Branded" is just a solid metal track, but nothing to blow your head off. The ballad "Winds of Death" (Angel of Light) starts off in wishy-washy fashion but does manage to build to a powerful climax. It's really "Slipping Through the Cracks" where the band totally convinces, coming up with some very cool and different riffs and sounding comfortable with themselves.

I await a full-length of all-new Malice material with great anticipation. I recommend "New Breed of Godz" to lovers of classic metal who might have missed out on the band in their heyday. But if you've got "In The Beginning" and "License To Kill", you can probably get along without this one.