MALICE – Demos Anthology (2023) *Exclusive*

MALICE - Demos Anthology (2023) *Exclusive* - full

Collector’s label Loudworks just released “Demos Anthology“, a collection of Portland, Oregon, cult orthodox heavy metallers MALICE early recordings before being signed by a major label. A limited edition of 500 copies, the CD compiles their very first 1982 demos, tracks from 1983, and the complete 1984 demo that lead Malice to meet Michael Wagener as producer.
Founded firmly in the Judas Priest camp, Malice was a highly impressive Los Angeles based metal band noted for strenuous live work. Not only did Malice sound like Judas by warrant of their heavy European guitar riffing but vocalist James Neal sounded uncannily like Rob Halford, and guitarist Jay Reynolds was a deadringer for K.K. Downing. Malice’s insistence on wearing studded black leather only compounded the comparisons.
The recordings on offer here are not the material included into ‘The Rare And Unreleased’ which consisted of alternate versions; “Demos Anthology” features the original 1982 / 1983 /1984 tapes, a collectors item.

Formed by Portland emigree bassist Mark Behn had previously played in Fire Eye and had also played in another local outfit, Kharma, who also included Pete Holmes, better known in later years for his role in Black n’ Blue. Guitarist Mick Zane had started out with the 1978 act Rude Awakening, fronted by Matt McCourt later of Wild Dogs infamy.
Zane and McCourt, alongside Wild Dogs guitarist Jeff Horton and Black n’ Blue man Pete Holmes, would share a later band, DMZ, in 1981. Jay Reynolds was part of the same club scene, coincidentally appearing in the Matt McCourt fronted acts 1979’s Punk band The Violaters and The Ravers.

It was Jay Reynolds that provided the catalyst for Malice. Having returned to Portland from Hawaii, where the guitarist had worked with various acts, he soon forged The Ravers. When this band folded Reynolds set to work assembling Malice, the first rehearsals featuring James Neal, Matt McCourt, Deen Castronovo on drums and then sixteen year old Kip Doran (Evil Genius) and ‘The Enemy’ on guitar.

Making their initial vinyl appearance on the first Metal Blade Records ‘Metal Massacre’ compilation album, the only band to contribute two tracks, with ‘Captive Of Light’ and ‘Kick You Down’, Malice were in fact at that stage not yet a band, the five members only deciding on a permanent union following the sessions. Introducing bassist Mark Behn and drummer Peter Laufmann, this formation the group relocated to Los Angeles.

The buzz on Malice now rollercoasted with the respected Dutch magazine ‘Aardschok’ giving the band a cover story a mere two months after their formation. The band’s first gig came in November 1982 appearing at Los Angeles Troubadour Club headlining a bill with Metallica and Pandemonium as opening acts.
At that time, fist demos were taped. Next year, and in-between gigs, the band recorded more demos a studio midnight hours.

MALICE - Demos Anthology (2023) back cover

A line-up change saw the introduction of with new drummer Cliff Carruthers, previously with Snow and Assassin. The quintet’s ensuing Michael Wagener produced demo proved an immense tour de force and Malice soon found themselves at the centre of a record company bidding war.
Atlantic Records snapped up the band in July 1984 and the demo comprised half of Malice’s first album, 1985’s ‘In The Beginning’, the remaining tracks being produced by Ashley Howe.

A five piece of considerable fire power and force, Malice exploded onto the scene with lightning effect, winning critical plaudits for their demos, and a dedicated following amongst metal starved fans.
On these early recordings, Malice has a sound that combines the very best of British NWOBHM with American classic metal. It’s a comprehensive assault on the senses with enough explosiveness to take on a tank battalion and comprehensively dismantle all opposition.
Check out tracks such as ‘Godz Of Thunder’, ‘Air Attack’, ‘Hellrider’ and ‘Stellar Masters’ for proof, if proof were needed, of just how uncompromising this band were. Some of these rawer, metallic demo versions are even better than the takes recorded later for their debut album.
Highly Recommended

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1 Rockin’ With You (Atlantic Studios Demo 84)
2 Stellar Masters (Atlantic Studios Demo 84)
3 Tarot Dealer (Atlantic Studios Demo 84)
4 Air Attack (Atlantic Studios Demo 84)
5 Godz Of Thunder (Atlantic Studios Demo 84)
6 Death Or Glory (Atlantic Studios Demo 84)
7 Hellrider (Atlantic Studios Demo 84)
8 The Unwanted (Atlantic Studios Demo 84)
9 Vigilante (Demo 83)
10 Jet Stream Cruiser (Demo 83)
11 Into The Ground (Demo 82)
12 Godz of Thunder (Demo 82)
13 Murder (Demo 82)
14 Dues Paid In Hell (Demo 82)
15 Cry Out (Demo 82)


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