Malison Rogue

1. Friend or Foe?
2. The Pain You Cause
3. The Griever
4. My Mistakes
5. This Lonely Road
6. Scars
7. We're All Born Sinners
8. Everything Fades

Zeb [Sebastian Jansson] (Vo)
Bjoerkborg [Jonatan Björkborg] (G)
Pete Fury [Petter Furå] (B)
Doc [Jens Vestergren] (D)



Mats Levén (prod)
Nicko DiMarino (engineer/mix)
Micke Lind (master)

Released 25/3-2011
Reviewed 11/3-2011

inner wound

It’s hard not to feel a bit hurled backwards in time when you put Malison Rogue in the player. The cover looks like a typical 80’s cover by bands like Anvil or Grave Digger, the logo looks like the logo from such bands as Sator or Iron Maiden and the sound is very much alike the one used by Scanner or Queensrÿche in the early years. And when it comes to the songs, then the thoughts goes straight towards Heaven’s Gate and perhaps Fates Warning. As you can see I’ve already mentioned eight bands, except from Malison Rogue themselves. This is something I’ve never even been close to do in the nine years I’ve been reviewing records for Hallowed. So what is it with Malison Rogue that makes me do this all of a sudden?

Along with Enforcer and Steelwing, the label annonce Malison Rogue as a part of “a new wave of Swedish heavy metal that will take the world by storm”. That sounds good to me, Enforcer released one of last year’s top albums and the debut of Steelwing wasn’t too bad either. So what do Malison Rogue have to offer that we doesn’t have already? Well, starting with the music it’s a faster, simpler kind of metal built around catchy melodies and uncomplicated trickery. Classic heavy or power metal one could call it and that also means, for you who don’t know about these genres, that there’s a lot of high octane screaming and choirs in the chorus as well as a pretty easy liked music that probably will appeal those who haven’t heard it before too. A lot of focus is put on placing the guitars in the center, which can be heard both in the “normal” song parts but especially in the lengthy solos and riffs in the middle. Not that the guitars in them selves are anything special, but I guess that's not the most important thing – it’s to have guitars in focus when you play heavy or power metal. Anything else would have been blasphemy I guess.

The introducing song is called Friend or Foe? and is a song that immidietly gets stuck in your head. Or at least the chorus. The same thing happens a couple of times during the course of the album and I’ve been walking around humming on a couple of these songs during the evenings since I started to play the album. In the closing song the band has even made the effort to put some sweeping keyboard lines in the mix, which makes the melodies in that song really hammered into your head. But apart from these, the really nice melodies shines with absence and even though the album is well played and catchy and invites you to sing along in the chorus - the melodies are mostly stuck on the same square inch and repeats the same tones over and over. This is especially true in the verses which are extremely driven by the vocals. I can honestly say I haven’t heard many songs as lead by only vocals as these, even though it’s only the verses that are extreme.

Somehow I don’t feel there is anything special about this album. It’s a record that in itself doesn’t shout plague all over but in the meantime it doesn’t offer you any specific qualities in return that makes it unique. Overall I’m not left with the feeling that this has been made before, but with the feeling that this isn’t something I really need to hear. And this is where the big confusion sets in, because for some reason I don’t mind hearing the album one more time. It have a strange, almost gravitational, pull toward itself and despite my somehow cool enthusiasm I can’t really stop myself from playing the album again. And again. And again.

So what is it with this album that makes it as addictive as cocaine? Well, it can’t be the vocals. Zebs vocal cord is a bit strained and even though he pulls out everything he have in his register which is anything from the tones high as Burj Khalifa (the over 800 meters high skyscraper in Dubai that was opend I January 2010) to more basement low tones, he feels mostly as a resource that hasn’t reached his fullest potential yet. There is more to gain from this voice than he currently can give us because today he’s mostly something that isn’t annoying – but far from something really good. I don't feel that the music is the drug that makes us prostitute ourselves for more either. Instrumentally it’s good enough, but they are hardy virtuosic in how they treat their instruments. Generally it feels like the biggest goal for this band is to keep it simple and play their heavy metal and have fun doing so, not to go bananas with progressive melodies and instrumental handling that some bands do. But at the same time it feels like there is something more than a band that’s only in it to have fun within Malison Rogue. Perhaps it’s their sense in keeping it simple and straight to the point without throwing in a million songs that isn’t worthy to be on an album. This album is eight songs and just above 39 minutes – nothing more, nothing less and that’s all you need.

In other words, what we have here is an album made for you who likes the simpler heavy or power metal. A bit faster, not hard as hell and easy to sing along with and to like. Uncomplicated and just what the doctor ordered. It doesn’t need to be more than this to work and for a debut I think the band makis it better than anyone could have expected. Edguys debut wasn’t even close to this and look where they are now. So what we have here is Malison Rogue – a band that potentially could become bigger than Edguy, even though that's not very likely.


Label - Inner Wound/Connecting Music
Three similar bands - Fates Warning/Steel Attack/Enforcer
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm