When I saw a new release of Wicked Maraya on the list, I hardly could keep it dry. Their album ‘Cycles’ is still one of my favorite albums of all time. After releasing that outstanding debut album in 1994 they changed the name into Maraya and released another great album “No Hope For Humanity…?”in 1996. “Counterculture” followed in 1998 and then it became quiet around them.
The band joined forces again somewhere in 2011 and now finally decided to release an album they already had recorded before their debut. In the spring of 1991 Wicked Maraya signed to an independent record label and teamed up with producer Jim Morris and started recording ‘Lifetime in Hell’. Upon completion of the album, although still signed to their label, the band showcases for labels and a larger management, since the band did not attain the next tier representation that they were seeking. During this time, they terminate the relationship with the band’s label and management. Doing nothing with the recorded album.
Now, 25 years later the time is there for the band to release their initial debut album. After such a long time you could expect outdated music, not really compatible to nowadays standards, but nothing of that. This is one of the best albums so far this year. The album is a bit faster and heavier than the ‘Cycles’ album and perhaps a little less progressive and less groovy. More raw metal with outstanding riffs, but with the same contagious melodic refrains and skilled musicianship. Falco perhaps screams a bit more than on their other albums, more aggressive you could call it, but that does make it all sound heavier. This is how U.S. metal should sound like, a mix of old Queensryche, Crimson Glory, Metal Church and Vicious Rumors or should I just say: like Wicked Maraya! Fans of the band already know the track “Johnny” from the Cycles album, all the other ones are new (or should I say old…). Everyone liking U.S. (melodic power) metal have to hear this, I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed! My personal favorites are “Crash & Burn”, a song with a nice riff and leads reminding a bit of Iron Maiden. Next track “Seizure” is another one, the fastest and heaviest track on the album with very aggressive singing of Falco. The last one I want to mention is ‘River Runs Black”, another heavy track with a very interesting rhytmn.
The last 2 tracks would not have been on the original 1991 album. “Fall From Grace” and “Suicidal Dawn” are songs written and recorded in 2014 and give you an idea of what the band sounds like today. Below one of the new songs, which is not completely representative for the other songs (which are heavier for the bigger part), but more how the band sounds like today, a bit more groovy.
01. Sounds Of Evil
02. Lifetime In Hell
03. Tomorrow’s Child
04. Crash & Burn (Idiot’s Delight)
07. The Calling
08. River Runs Black
10. Fall From Grace
11. Suicidal Dawn
Playing time: 50:07
Release date: 18 March 2016
Label: Massacre Records