Malice in Wonderland

MALICE IN WONDERLAND – The Royal Brigade

Malice in Wonderland - The Royal Brigade“Catchy arena rock with a dark twist”! That is what Norwegian rockers Malice In Wonderland’s bio says on their home page. I have never heard of them before and that sentence sounded good enough to make me interested. When I was asked if I would like to review their album, this text was also part of making me interested in the band: “One of Norway’s premiere rock acts MALICE IN WONDERLAND burst onto the Scandinavian rock scene with their self titled debut album in 2005. Led by hit single “Lucifer’s Town” the band was quickly labelled as one of the most promising underground rock acts and their fan base grew quickly with fan clubs and supporters in every corner of the world. The quartet, renowned as a great energetic live act, have toured in Europe and Asia, supported major acts like Def Leppard, and appeared on several TV-shows and productions. They are now ready with a new record!” As I’m getting older I have found that discovering new music is fun. When I find something that I really dig, I need to tell the world and convince every one of said artist’s greatness. However, if I’m being lured into listening to something that I think sucks, then well, same thing. I will scream AVOID! until I’m blue in the face!.  That’s why I’m hoping to death that every time I hear something new, the music will turn out to be a winner – I really hate slagging bands off.  Still, it’s not my fault if you happen to suck…

Looking at pictures of the band, they sure do look more like some kind of gothic-emo band, more than a bunch of hard rockers playing arena rock. The first band I was thinking of was My Chemical Romance, when I saw the pic. I don’t mind though because I like MCR a lot. And another thing that I have learned is that you should never judge a book by its cover. Or a band by its look, for that matter. First track, “Diamonds”, is more like an acoustic intro with vocals. It works, but it kinda disappears from your mind as soon as it’s through. The real album openers, in my book, are “Black Wings” (first single) and “Live For Today”, both great, with a modern feel and the hard rock has both pop and goth in them, “Moonchild” is a hit as far as I’m concerned and should be a single, the title track is a catchy rocker, also with a hit feel and the ballad “Like The Dessert Miss The Rain” is beautiful, all dark and mellow and no cheese to be found. “Darkened Soul” is a dark, acoustic based pop rocker, “Have No Fear” is heavy, still on the dark and gothic side and finishing song “A Tear And A Whisper” is a great, mellow ballad.

Having not heard their debut album, Malice In Wonderland (2005), I can’t comment on whether this album is a step forward for the boys or not, but what I can say is that I’m glad that I have found another new band and that I don’t have to slate their album, because this is a really, really good record. It’s not the kind of rock that I usually dig, even though there are exceptions, but strong material is strong material no matter what the genre. And it’s kinda hard to pigeon-hole this band, which is a good thing, but they are a hard rock band, with some classic rock, My Chemical Romance melodies and goth thrown into the mix. Hell, I can even hear traces of early 80’s pop, such as Kim Wilde in here. But maybe that’s just me. This album might contain the odd filler, but for the most part the songs are all great, but my hick-ups here lies within the production. The production on this album is too thin and to be frank, sometimes it almost sounds like demo. I want a fatter sound, a bigger sound, bigger drums and more attack in the guitar area. Other than that, no complaints from this guy. For everyone who wants something fresh and who likes to listen with an open mind, try this one out. This shows that Norway isn’t all about world-class skiing, burning churches and black metal – nope, Norway can still provide us with a bona-fide rock band. Malice In Wonderland is a band to look out for in the future for sure.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Tracklist:

  1. Diamonds
  2. Black Wings
  3. Live For Today
  4. Moonchild
  5. The Royal Brigade
  6. New Year’s Eve
  7. Like The Desert Miss The Rain
  8. Tenebrous Lane
  9. Darkened Soul
  10. Have No Fear
  11. A Tear And A Whisper

2 comments on “MALICE IN WONDERLAND – The Royal Brigade

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