Released: Marc, Ferret Music
Maylene and The Sons of Disaster, the six-piece six-shooter from Birmingham, Alabama, have a mouthful of a name, and more than a mouthful of an album. Their Ferret Music debut album II is a very good slice of Southern rock, with a twist. For the full version of the story of how the band’s name came about, check out their website. Briefly, they take their name from the crime boss Ma Barker and her four sons that comprised the Barker-Karpis gang. The album tells the tales and legends surrounding Ma Barker and her Prohibition-era crime family, and her bloody end in a shootout with the authorities in a cabin outside Florida.
From the opening track, you will find your head nodding along to the heavy complex riffs that the three guitarists manage to produce. Their guitar sound is reminiscent of other “Southern” bands like Pantera and Black Label Society, and dare I say it, even sounds a little like the first CD in Metallica’s GARAGE INC album. The groovy, not-quite-sludgy but supremely heavy riffing is excellent, and intricate enough to hold the listener’s attention, you can almost taste the Jack Daniels and beer!
But what frankly amazes is the amount of variation in the songs that present themselves on II. The songs are all stand-out, and they bear repeated listens. No throwaway songs here, they’re all quality. The singer Dallas Taylor is slightly monotonous, with shouty, not-quite-screamy, raspy vocals, that vary little throughout the album. He interlaces this with some “clean” vocals, but, damn, he does give a lesson on how to be melodic without being a pussy emo. It fits the music, and the atmosphere that the band creates. Atmosphere, I hear you ask? Yes atmosphere indeed, the Deep South ambience is hard to ignore, especially on the awesome cowboy instrumental “The Day Hell Broke Loose At Sicard Hollow”, where you can almost see the campfire and smell the Marlboros and horses. The twangy guitars laced with slides and blues licks just complete the album, one of the best tracks on the album I feel, with the three guitarists worth their money on this track alone. Ditto in the second-to-last track “Tale of The Runaways”.
Overall it is a very good album, and is extremely recommended for any rock enthusiasts and metalheads looking for something slightly different. My only worry for this band is that they are based on a single theme, in other words they are a “concept band” in the same way an album can be a concept album. We’ll see if they can maintain their sound with different subject matter on their next album. In the meantime, enjoy this one.