A line-up change in-between albums usually signals either a rebirth or a death knell for most bands, but for Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster, it is neither. Instead the new blood injected into their ranks seems to have allowed them to take their craft even further down the road they were already heading as their swampy outlaw brand of metal, screamo, country and bluegrass has emerged even thicker than before.
While the groups previous attempts at southern hospitality felt forced at times, there's a much more palatable kick and conviction embedded in the material featured on "III". A few rollicking ZZ Top-like riffs here, some bluegrass inspired banjo or heartfelt vocalizing there and this lively and unlikely hybrid of rustic meets modern quickly hits its stride. That's not to say the band can claim it all as their own though as groups like Every Time I Die and Poison The Well have previously flirted with similar influences.
But where Maylene differ is their full-fledged immersion in gunslinger history and whiskey soaked riffs. There's also a certain air of a bygone wild west mythos to their craft that distinguishes them from the number of other outfits who also decided to pick up a bottleneck. That said, for all the fire and raucous hayseed meets hardcore antics, where Maylene ultimately falter is their lackluster attempts at ballads.
Tracks like "Listen Close" feel painfully out of place and uninspired, almost to the extent of sounding like Nickelback attempting a Tom Petty cover. Thankfully this type of balladry is in the minority though and the group are often left to be their rowdy shit kickin' selves. Sure "III" is rough around the edges and has some inconsistent moments and an air of sloppiness to it. But there's also a certain sense of charm to its loose swagger and how it finds these southern gents opting for the tight Wranglers instead of the tight skinny jeans.
(3.5 / 5)