The Age of Ore New Album 'Malevolent'
Ore is that naturally occurring solid material from which a metal or valuable mineral can be profitably extracted. Thus, The Age of Ore suggests raw material that can produce good stuff. But it takes work. It’s not yet a golden age, but it has potential to be a valuable time. It’s also the name of a metal band – of course – and Malevolent, the band’s new EP, is a title that describes a wish to do evil to others. Each word and artist name implies opposite aims. Extracted ore can be used for both good and evil, and this act explores these moral opposites with its fine, hard rocking project.
The five-song project opens with “Wings of Steel,” which kicks off with a driving, fat chord groove, which hearkens back to vintage metal music. The singer has a relatively smooth singing style – at least for this genre – which may remind you of a young Bon Jovi. Even the song title might remind you of how Bon Jovi once sang of riding on a steel horse, back when he was wanted – dead or alive. Of course, Bon Jovi, once described as a poodle-haired rocker, leaned closer to the pop end of the metal spectrum. Girls found him – and still find him – dreamy. The track is a wonderfully crunchy way to lead off an album. Simply put, it flies.
With “Drag You Under,” the band reaches for something closer to early Black Sabbath. It has an ominous lead guitar melody, which is far more malevolent than the first song. After this eerie beginning, though, the song speeds up to a kind of metal groove. It’s sung fast, much like Guns N’ Roses used to do it back during their Sunset Strip beginnings. Then, Guns N’ Roses clearly sounded to be inspired by punk rock’s concurrent energy. The song switches back and forth between the opening’s slow section, and the recording’s more groove-ish parts. It’s a song where listeners can picture a mosh pit opening up, speeding up and then slowing down, as the music alternates its pace.
Speaking of pace, “The Call” is an animal of an entirely different color, as it incorporates an acoustic intro. It’s sung sincerely and calls out with a challenge: To answer the call. Just what this call is, though, is open to interpretation. This one, too, applies some wonderfully memorable guitar chords. Bands that play all the right chords well, as The Age of Ore do, are severely underrated. This takes nothing away from acts that know how to shred. That’s also a metal necessity. But appropriate chords are the bones of the best rock and roll, which give songs a memorable framework.
“Oblivion” is a midtempo rocker which, while good, is not as creative as the tracks that precede or follow it. The album closes with “Forsaker,” which is a sonic return to form. Its lead part is a catchy intro. It caps off a consistently engaging collection of songs.
All told, Malevolent is an album that offers hope tinged with a reality check. It’s a strong release, best served loud.