MALICE Guitarist On Comparisons To JUDAS PRIEST: ‘I Take It As A Compliment’

Patrick Prince of Powerline magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Jay Reynolds of reactivated Los Angeles heavy metal legends MALICE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Powerline: MALICE is bringing an old-school metal style back, which they call traditional metal now, or trad metal, which is gaining popularity again.

Reynolds: True metal, dude. It’s true metal. And here’s the deal: if you listen to any death metal band, any speed metal band, any thrash metal band, any black metal band — they all listened to IRON MAIDEN. They all listened to JUDAS PRIEST. That’s where it all came from. And we fit right into that vein. If you compare us to bands like early SCORPIONS or early PRIEST or any IRON MAIDEN, or any of that, we fit right in. I mean, we’re heavier now. We’ve kind of notched it up to the “Painkiller”-type JUDAS PRIEST. We’ve always been compared to PRIEST, so … But there was a real conscious effort to heavy the band up. I think it’s evident when you listen to the record. It’s a much heavier direction now.

Powerline: For me, the PRIEST comparisons were always a positive. But do you think that hurt MALICE at all?

Reynolds: No. back in the ’80s, if you were going to be compared to anybody, JUDAS PRIEST was not a bad band to be compared to. I take it as a compliment.

Powerline: You were reminiscent to early PRIEST, which was even better.

Reynolds: Absolutely. I don’t think we’ll get it that much anymore. I don’t think it will be as much of an issue as it was back in the ’80s. I mean, we really have come into our own on this record. I’ve played the album back-to-back with some of the new stuff that’s come out — the new ACCEPT, the new OVERKILL, and other new records — and our record stands up to all that stuff. It’s as good as anything out there. And the band’s just breathing fire live. I can’t wait to get out and tour.

Powerline: Why did you decide to redo the old classics?

Reynolds: We haven’t released a real full album since 1987. SPV‘s thought, initially, was that they wanted to reintroduce the world to MALICE. Let’s take the best of what the band did — four songs off the first album, four songs off the second album — and do four new songs. And, also, for the real die-hard fan, we have the digipak with the DVD which shows then, now and the making of the records. So, it really gives people an idea of who we are because there are a lot of people who never heard of the band. Fortunately, we have a lot of fans from back in the day but there’s a whole legion of people who don’t know who MALICE is. There’s a great opportunity to show folks exactly what the band is. Going in to do it, it was like, “Re-record the old songs?!” But, you know, James [Rivera] put his own stamp on them, Joe Floyd [WARRIOR] did an amazing production job, In hindsight, actually, it wasn’t a bad idea at all — the record came out great. And we had no problem writing material. We probably have half of a new record written already.

Powerline: You did ask James Neal [vocals] if he wanted to rejoin. James is really off on a different trip, huh?

Reynolds: Yeah, he’s settled into his life. He’s into music but he’s just not really into metal anymore, which is all good, man. I mean, he’s got his life together now. He had some alcohol problems back in the day. I mean, we all had our problems back in the day but it actually led to a big rift in the band. But we gave James the opportunity to step in when we decided to do this thing but he wasn’t interested. The funny thing is, we have a singer named James now and they’re both from Texas and the both fucking sing like a motherfucker, so …

Powerline: Yeah, you got the right guy.

Reynolds: Yeah, we certainly did. If you listen to the record … when I listen to the record, I don’t even think of James Neal. I just think, “Wow, what a great record.” People know who James Rivera is. He has a following all to himself. He has fans around the world who are into whatever he does. Nothing wrong with that at all. I’m glad to have him in the band and call him my friend.

Read the entire interview from Powerline magazine.

“Hell Rider” audio stream:


“New Breed Of Godz” audio stream: