Los Angeles based five-piece Malice, had its origins in Portland Oregon, and developed the knack of being America’s answer to UK metal legends Judas Priest.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: In The Beginning
SERIAL: 781 250-1
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: James Neal – vocals * Jay Reynolds – guitars * Mick Zane – guitars * Mark Behn – bass * Cliff Carothers – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Rockin’ With You * 02 Into The Ground * 03 Air Attack * 04 Stellar Masters * 05 Tarot Dealer * 06 Squeeze It Dry * 07 Hellrider * 08 No Haven For The Raven * 09 The Unwanted * 10 Gods Of Thunder
Los Angeles based five-piece Malice, had its origins in Portland Oregon, and developed the knack of being America’s answer to UK metal legends Judas Priest. In singer James Neal, they had the perfect foil to Rob Halford, while the blonde and brunette pairing of Reynolds and Zane typified the Priest pairing of Downing and Tipton – to a tee.
Not that the music was a complete rip-off, but it certainly packed more balls than Ratt or Motley Crue could deliver at the time.Formed by guitarist Jay Reynolds, Malice are described as being more European than American, the band set out to prove that the L.A stomping grounds did actually have bands with talent, rather than hairspray and gloss.
Ironically enough, Malice were one of the last NWLAHM bands signed to a big label – with Atlantic Records during July 1984. Initially it was thought these guys were going to be passed over, after a few years playing the club circuit in search of a deal.
[L:R] Cliff Carrothers – drums, Mick Zane – guitars, James Neal – vocals, Jay Reynolds – guitars, Mark Behn – bass
Atlantic took a punt on the Malice boys, probably looking for a heavier alternative to the in-house success of fellow LA’sters Ratt. So we have the Malice debut ‘In The Beginning’.
They start off with the gonzoid attack of ‘Rockin With You’, followed by the superb metal pairing of ‘Into The Ground’ and the brilliant ‘Air Attack’. Elsewhere, we get straight-ahead US metal in ‘Squeeze It Dry’, while the kick drums take off into double-time on the duo of the rampant ‘Hellrider’ and ‘The Unwanted’.
Things get a little silly with song titles like ‘Stellar Masters’ and ‘No Haven For The Raven’. Though the music is able-minded HM, this sort of lyrical nonsense probably gave HM a bad name, but at least it’s not half as bad as that thrash crap that was hitting the airwaves at about the same time. The last track ‘Godz Of Thunder’ should really be a tribute to Priest, such is it’s uncanny resemblance.
The band even had the fortune of appearing as themselves in the movie ‘Vice Versa’, starring Fred Savage and Judge Reinhold. Malice followed up ‘ITB’ with ‘Licence To Kill’, another heavy affair from 1987, but by then, internal combustion had set in, and the band called it a day two years later.
Despite the fact this sounds dated by todays standard, I don’t mind winding the clock back to reflect on a bit of nostalgia. As of Nov 2006, Malice have been reformed by Reynolds, with Zane and Behn back in the fold, plus former Black N Blue drummer Pete Holmes and new singer Brian Allen. Look out for new product in 2007.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)