There are few genres as maligned as Southern Rock. The term brings to mind a drunken guy wearing a wife-beater and a trucker cap with a Confederate flag patch screaming “Freebird!” Despite stereotypes the truth is that most people that grow up in the South/Southwest are born knowing about two musical genres, Country and Rock. Given the working class environment and the musical heritages of the regions this is no surprise.
The legacy of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd were revived and renewed most popularly by the DIY success of Northern Alabama’s Drive By Truckers. But other bands, like Austin, Texas’ Dixie Witch and Birmingham, Alabama’s Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster follows the Allman and Skynyrd path by way of a more aggressive Southern metal route most famously blazed by Pantera.
Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster rose from the ashes of vocalist Dallas Taylor’s unceremonious dismissal from the Christian post-hardcore band Underoath in late 2003. Though MATSOD are designated A “a Christian southern metalcore” band on Wikipedia the Christian element is not the central focus, the music is. Like Johnny Cash and U2, MATSOD are about getting their message across in allegory delving into the ambiguities of faith rather than self-righteous cartoon ideas of good and bad. In the case of MATSOD it’s just done faster and louder.
To blur the line further between heaven and hell the band’s name is taken from the legend of the barbarous criminal gang of Ma Barker and her fraternal offspring.
Step Up (I’m On It) offers Southern-fried bottleneck and banjo, Listen Close and No Good Son lift licks from the Skynyrd playbook and Oh Lonely Grave begins as an updated swampy dirge, but the blasting intensity of the latter part of the piece and of Settling Scores By Burning Bridges and Harvest Moon Hanging shows that the combination of Saturday night sin and Sunday morning salvation still proves a potent mix.