Maule – Maule Review

I’m starting my year off on a positive note. In my Top Ten(ish) column (along with many others) one commenter opined about our lack of love for melodic stuff. I really took that statement to heart1 and decided that for January it’s only traditional and glam metal for this olde cat. So here we go, with a new creation born on Canada’s west coast, Maule. Touting themselves as part of the new wave of traditional heavy metal, they intend to gallop their way into our hearts with churning rhythms, rousing choruses, and rather pleasant Canadian personalities. A potent mix indeed!

If I had to sum up Maule’s style on Maule in one word, that word would be exuberance. Seven of the nine songs on the album are up-tempo belters, rousing anthems that gallop along like wild horses – or like early Iron Maiden tunes, to put it a different way. “Evil Eye” has a vibe reminiscent of many Maiden openers, kicking the album off in headlong reckless fashion. The pace continues without abatement through the first half-dozen songs, all of which are raw yet charming. “Ritual” and “Summoner” stand out with some killer bass riffs, which just makes the Maiden comparisons even more acute. Jakob Weel’s vocals have more in common with Paul Di’Anno than Bruce Dickinson, thus the early-era comparisons.

Iron Maiden is the most obvious and convenient2 frame of reference, but the NWOBHM in general is loved by Maule. Saxon and Angel Witch both had a say in this band’s genetic makeup, and those influences are more active on the back half of the album, where the pace slows down slightly for mid-paced material like “Father Time” and “March of the Dead.” Album closer “We Ride” brought to mind Diamond Head as it blasted over the speakers here. Great riffs, excellent choruses, and plenty of songs about swords and sorcery (even an homage to the oft-forgotten female counterpart to Conan, “Red Sonja”) make this an album that gives one serious déjà vu for the early 80s.

The lead breaks on every song are stellar. Sadly, lead guitarist Daniel Gottardo left the band prior to album release, but what a legacy, and what shoes for newcomer Justin Walker to fill. Johnny Maule is the band’s Steve Harris, with nimble fingers giving us intricate bass lines left and right, and Eddie Riumin drives it all home with great work on the drum kit. Interestingly, Maule was produced by Michael Kraushaar, who also produced their debut EP. Even he has stepped his game up tremendously. From Hell had a definite garage band feel to it, while Maule is far more professional. With five songs appearing on both recordings it’s easy to hear the difference in both production and arrangements, and the whole thing is a big leap forward in quality. Topping it all off is Weel’s vocal performance, which brings a ton of additional energy and an unpolished yet irresistible edge to the album.

Maule is such a rollicking – and welcome – start to the year, after what for me was an absolute shit December and first half of January, that I played it more than I should have, and wrote about it less – and less timely – than it deserved. The spirit of the album is infectious, and while there isn’t a weak song in sight, the band still has room to grow with pacing and variety. Something tells me their second album is going to be stellar. That’s all for now, folks. Come back soon for some feel-good glam metal!

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: Gates of Hell Records
Websites: |
Release Worldwide: January 14, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. No, I didn’t.
  2. Read: lazy for a reviewer to come up with.
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