MALICE – License To Kill [Japan Remastered Limited Release] Out Of Print
The first MALICE album was recently remastered by Rock Candy Records (featured HERE on the blog), and I think it’s proper to revisit this, their second effort “License To Kill“. A remastered version of this cult classic album is not easy to find, as this Japanese reissue – released in conjunction with BURRN! magazine to celebrate their 30 Year Anniversary – from only two years ago, is already out of print.
For their second album, Malice hardened their sound, but still there’s an implicit L.A. hard rock groove / melody all over. For many, this is the album Judas Priest should have released after Defenders Of The Faith instead of Turbo.
For me, “License To Kill” is what would happen if Dokken suddenly grew 8 foot tall testicles.
Killer opener “Sinister Double” is a mid-paced American hard / metal romp featuring some high, over-the-top vocals from James Neal.
The follow-up track is another midtempo number, title track “License To Kill”, a groovier song that’s way too fun to sing along to, one of my favorites. Just tell me if there isn’t a Dokken feel…
“Chain Gang Woman” is one mean track with a driving guitar riff and an instant hook created by the shout along gang vocals. The driving riff assault in here is incredible.
“Against the Empire” is also in a similar vein and quite heavy, while “Christine” (which is based on the Stephen King novel) and “Breathin’ Down Your Neck” go for a more hard rock punch, with edge.
Album closer “Circle of Fire” is a another highlight, featuring some insane high vocals that would match the best from Rob Halford, where guitarists Mick Zane and Jay Reynolds rip out some very European sounding twin riffs.
Malice’s “License To Kill” is a kick ass rocking album that was criminally ignored when released. The band had the big label (Atlantic), the look, the sound and some cracking songs that easily could have scored a hit in 1987.
How this album didn’t help push the band over the edge is a mystery. Perhaps the reason is that was released in a year when the US market was flooded with great albums in the metal-related genre, and Malice resulted relegated.
This Japanese remastering is punchy & clean, bringing to life new layers of harmonic sounds
Warner Music Japan ~ WPCR-15921
01 – Sinister Double
02 – License To Kill
03 – Against The Empire
04 – Vigilante
05 – Chain Gang Woman
06 – Christine
07 – Murder
08 – Breathin’ Down Your Neck
09 – Circle Of Fire
James Neal – Vocals
Mick Zane – Guitars
Jay Reynolds – Guitars
Mark Behn – Bass
Clifford Carothers – Drums
OUT OF PRINT