Always felt their pair of 80s albums failed to do the Cali traditional outfit justice, never capturing the gritty live edge. Perhaps they were trying to serve two masters (walking the fine line between real metal and the emerging pop scene), but this combination of 4 new tunes and 8 re-worked gems, equally split between Licensed To Kill and In The Beginning (with HELSTAR screecher James Rivera joining three fifths of the original line-up, including most importantly guitarists Mick Zane and Jay Reynolds, ex-METAL CHURCH) rectifies that, as well as teases for an interesting second go-round. While the vocal presence of the ubiquitous Mexican Dio makes it difficult to differentiate some of the material from his like-minded retro project, the old MALICE tunes are given a swift kick in the ass. ‘Hellrider’ is up second and virtually indistinguishable from its original format, a rather lame attempt that failed to life up to such a title. Now, it’s a revving homage to Judas Priest (to whom the Californians were frequently compared, especially in the British press, but truthfully it was mostly down to wardrobe choices and “what might have been” rather than any concrete musical apery). As thrilling as it is to have new MALICE material, I’m infinitely more taken with the power infused into the classics, and not a daft choice in the bunch: ‘Sinister Double’ and ‘Air Attack’ both particularly re-violent-ized. ‘Goz Of Thunder’ is the sort of tune Rivera can sing in his sleep and make it sound great! Of the new stuff, a mid-tempo ‘Branded’ is the best of the bunch, which sees Rivera keep the high pitched register to a minimum, similar in vein to an invigorated ‘Stellar Masters’. ‘Winds Of Death (Angel Of Light)’ is a gradually building (power?) ballad and the title track, which kicks off this album, is the hardest/fastest. Man, can’t wait to hear/see this incarnation live!