Maylene and The Sons of Disaster: III

[Ferret Music]

Since the release of their previous album in 2007, the winds of change have swept over MATSOD like an F-4 tornado, resulting in a new lineup and sound on their latest album. Composed of four new members, including Matt Clark and Kelly Scott Nunn (ex-Underoath), the Alabama-based Metalcore outfit expresses its Southern roots more than ever with banjo tracks, guitar slides and hand claps to compliment the down-tuned, fist-pounding sound that fans have come to expect from the band’s previous albums.

Although the band’s stand-alone brand of heaviness is upheld, III is revealing for its new direction in terms of musical composition and target audience. The songs are collectively more technical and diverse, featuring Guns N’ Roses-esque guitar solos and sophisticated vocal harmonies, but the album lacks the grittiness of the band’s former releases due to the absence of as many half-time breakdowns and balls-out, simplistic guitar riffs. In addition, the tracks on III feel formulaic at times (“Listen Close,” “Last Train Coming”), which might be the sole flaw.

Overall, the group’s new sound is cleaner and catchier, more refined and more produced, making the music accessible to a larger audience without compromising the incendiary energy that burns at the core of MATSOD. Grade: A-

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