"I think we played with all of those groups, Armored Saint, Abattoir, Bitch and Slayer many times. We had a lot of parties and fun times together. As for the music, I liked Malice the best. James Neal was probably the best metal singer I ever heard. “Gods Of Thunder”, “Tarot Dealer”, “Sinister Double” are some of my all time favorite metal tracks. Malice like Savage Grace was a highly under rated band."  -Christian Logue, Savage Grace

In the Begining Malice - In the Beginning... (Wounded Bird) 1985

1. Rockin' With You (5:01)
2. Into The Ground (3:48)
3. Air Attack (3:01)
4. Stellar Mastersv3:58)
5. Tarot Dealer (4:21)
6. Squeeze It Dryv4:03)
7. Hellrider (4:11)
8. No Haven For The Raven (6:07)
9. The Unwanted (4:37)
10. Godz Of Thunder (4:20)

Malice were fairly well known before singing a record deal and releasing this debut in 1985. They had released several self-financed demo tapes that made their way around the tape trading circles of the early 80's. They were also featured on the infamous Metal Massacre series. ""In the Beginning..." was originally released in 1985 by Atlantic Records and produced in part by Max Norman, who has produced some of metal's finest albums. The band's sound is very reminiscent of "Screaming for Vengeance / Defenders of the Faith"-era Judas Priest, right down to the growls of the motorcycles in "Hellrider". This particular track is a fast speed metal track that could easily have fit onto Priest's "Painkiller" album. The entire album is heavy and riff driven heavy metal. While songs like "Rockin' With You" and "Squeeze it Dry" are more mid-paced, commercial anthems, there are also the balls-to-the-walls speed metal tracks, such as "Air Attack" and the aforementioned "Hellrider". "Squeeze it Dry" reminds me of Judas Priest's "You Don't Have to be Old to be Wise", though it's not identical. "No Haven for the Raven" and "The Unwanted" are mid-paced, American power-metal songs. The album finishes off with the dark, gothic-tinged, double bass driven "Godz of Thunder". As might be expected vocalist James Neal has one of those soaring, high, air siren voices not unlike Rob Halford and there are plenty of those 1980's dual guitar leads to keep any self-respecting headbanger grinning. (Thanks Vexor6)

License to Kill


Malice - License to Kill (Wounded Bird) 1987/2004
Malice - License to Kill (Atlantic) 1987

1. Sinister Double (4:39)
2. License to Kill (3:57)
3. Against the Empire (4:27)
4. Vigilante (5:06)
5. Chain Gang Woman (4:15)
6. Christine (4:40)
7. Murder (4:23)
8. Breathin' Down Your Neck (3:59)
9. Circle of Fire (3:48)

Malice "License to Kill" is one of those albums I've had on vinyl for years but never upgraded to CD. Finally, with this Wounded Bird reissue, I have a CD version of this heavy metal classic. Malice's second full length album was more straight forward, no frills, heavy metal. Sounding like a cross between "Screaming for Vengeance" and "Defenders of the Faith", Malice most certainly had to be big Priest fans. The songs for the most part are memorable and pretty heavy. There is not fluffy glam metal here.

"Sinister Double" is a fast to mid-paced American metal romp featuring some high, over-the-top vocals from James Neal. The follow-up track is another mid-paced number. "Chain Gang Woman" is one mean track with a driving guitar riff, an instant hook created by the shout along gang vocals. Album closer "Circle of Fire" features some insane high vocals that would match the best from Rob Halford, John Cryiis or Warrel Dane. Guitarists Mick Zane and Jay Reynolds rip out some very European sounding riffs. Had this album been the follow-up to "Defenders of the Faith" instead of "Turbo", I don't think anyone would have been the wiser. However, that is not to say that Malice don't have their own identity at all. There is plenty of American power metal here as well. Comparisons to Omen, Sanctuary and Obsession wouldn't be too far off. The band had the big label, the look, the sound and a few songs that easily could have scored a hit in 1987. How this one didn't help push the band over the edge is a mystery. (Thanks Vexor6)

Crazy in the Night Malice - Crazy in the Night (Metal Blade) 1989

1. "Captive of Light" (3:24)
2. "Vice Versa" (4:19)
3. "Crazy in the Night" (4:29)
4. "Death or Glory" (3:56)

Old school heavy metal! "Captive of Light" is from the early days of Malice ('82-'83) while "Vice Versa" is from the end of their careers. This song appeared on the soundtrack to the movie of the same name. As a matter of fact, Malice are shown live in the film. "Vice Versa" and "Crazy in the Night" are both decent 80s-styled heavy rockers. "Captive of Light" is more galloping-style, power-metal. "Death or Glory" lies somewhere in between and is yet another good rocker. It's a shame this CD is so short. Would have been better with a few more songs added.

New Breed of Godz Malice - New Breed Of Godz (SPV) 2012

1.   New Breed Of Godz (5:24)
2.   Hell Rider (4:18)
3.   Against The Empire (4:32)
4.   Branded (4:56)
5.   Sinister Double (4:40)
6.   Circle Of Fire (4:03)
7.   Stellar Masters (4:09)
8.   Winds Of Death (Angel Of Light) (6:09)
9.   Air Attack (3:12)
10. Chain Gang Woman (4:14)
11. Slipping Through The Cracks (5:19)
12. Godz Of Thunder (4:23)

1. Making of New Breed of Godz
2. Live 1987
3. Live at Keep It True XIV

The practice of old bands re-recording their old material and bringing up to modern recording standards has become a bit of a trend in recent years. I'm sure that some of that has to due with the original recordings being owned by big record labels who do not want to give up the rights to those songs, even though they have no intention of doing anything with them. I'm not sure what motivated Malice to re-record songs from their classic catalog but the reunited band has recorded four new songs and re-recorded eight cuts from their back catalog. The reunited band features original members Jay Reynolds (guitars), Mick Zane (guitars) and Mark Behn (bass) along with new singer James Rivera (Helstar) and new drummer Pete Holmes (Black N´Blue).  (Jay Reynolds spent a few years recording and touring with Metal Church before the Malice reunion.) 

The band picked four songs from each of their two full-length studio albums, and this new lineup does a superb job of recreating these classic songs.  The re-recorded songs are well recorded and given a certain new punch, thanks to pristine production qualities and crunchy guitar tones. Not much has changed from the original versions, so the anthemic, Judas Priest-inspired heavy metal of "Hell Rider", "Godz Of Thunder" and the infectious groove of "Chain Gang Woman" all remain virtually the same. However, the band did themselves no favors having Rivera do the vocals. Having been a longtime fan of both Malice and Helstar, it's hard for me to separate the two from one another. I am a huge fan of James Rivera and his many projects over the years, especially Helstar. However, having Rivera's charismatic and very distinctive voice attached to songs like "Chain Gang Woman" just seems odd to this long-time fan. Rivera is perfect for the straight-forward heavy metal approach the band uses on new songs such as the title track, "Branded", "Slipping Through The Cracks" and "Winds of Death". I just wish the entire album was new songs as the old songs didn't really need and update and the four new songs show the band is more than capable of still delivering the goods.

Disc two is a DVD that contains the making of "New Breed of Godz" as well as a classic live performance from 1987 and the re-united band's performance at "Keep It True XIV, 2011". Unfortunately the DVD only plays on my computer as it is formatted for European DVD players

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