Malice Continues to Keep the Metal Torch Burning!
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
(Originally published July 1st, 2016 in Sin City Presents Magazine)
Malice founding member, bass player Rayman James, was inspired by Manowar’s guitarist Ross The Boss to create a band that would carry on the ‘metal torch’ after bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest had to turn in their hats. Inspiration, his love for metal, and an interest in Norse mythology, lead to the creation of Malice. They released their debut CD, ‘Triumph and Glory’, in 2012, and after a bit of member shuffling and restarts, they are recording a brand new CD (scheduled for a late 2016 release) and have some U.S. dates and festivals booked.
ALISON “METALBABE” COHEN: I’ve had a great time preparing for this interview while listening to ‘Triumph and Glory’ and watching YouTube videos. For anyone not familiar with Malice, can you please give us some history of the band?
RAYMAN “THE METAL WARRIOR” JAMES: Well, we’ve been around for a while now and gone through more members than I would like to recall. Sheridan has been with Malice now since before our first studio release and first stage show, even though my little brother started the band with me as the guitar player. So Sheridan is kinda officially the unofficial original guitarist. First few years were tough ‘cause every time we would pick up some momentum, we would lose a member. Now it seems we have a good crew that is focused. And I see good things happening with us now.
METAL BABE: I did see on your website that you actually went though 18 different drummers in the summer of 2010! I’m so glad things are working out now. Who is in your crew now and how did you come together?
THE METAL WARRIOR: Sheridan – Guitars, Dave Whitmer – Vocals, David Koeplinn – Drums, and myself on Bass guitar.
METAL BABE: If you had to ‘categorize’ your musical style, what would you call it?
THE METAL WARRIOR: Pure heavy f*cking metal. We are old school traditional metal in the vein of Maiden, Priest, and Manowar.
METAL BABE: My favorite kind! I read that the band is currently working on a new full-length release and is recording at Black Apple Studios in Minneapolis. Where are you at in the recording process, and what is the projected release date?
THE METAL WARRIOR: We have a few songs that are recorded right now and we will be playing some of them live at Rockfest in Wisconsin July 16th. Release date is currently unknown at this time, but we are hoping to have it out late 2016.
METAL BABE: What can you tell us about the CD? Do you have a working title or first single in place?
THE METAL WARRIOR: Technically the first single was recorded and released with David Reece singing, but since his departure we have restarted the recording of the album. So “Fight” will be on the album again, but with Dave Whitmer on vocals. For the single we are thinking to either do a song titled “Wheels of Steel” (for our SOR Motorcycle club) or “Slaying the Dragon.”
METAL BABE: How does it compare to ‘Triumph and Glory?’
THE METAL WARRIOR: Well, I would like to think it will be better. Sheridan has assisted in the writing of some of the music for it. And I would just like to think that things get better with every release.
METAL BABE: Being the founding member, and the bass player, what is your songwriting process like?
THE METAL WARRIOR: Its always different. Sometimes the music comes first, sometimes the lyrics… I never know when it will happen. A lot of times I am at the gym or driving when a song melody or lyric pops in my head.
METAL BABE: Speaking of ‘Triumph and Glory,’ what is the story behind “Sons of Rock?”
THE METAL WARRIOR: “Sons of Rock” was inspired by a conversation I had the very first time I met Ross the Boss of Manowar in Germany 2005. Which basically boiled down to us saying bands like Manowar and Maiden are not gonna be able to play live forever and that there needs to be another generation. Someone needs to carry the torch of heavy metal into the future and he said “someone needs to keep it going, you need to keep it going.”
METAL BABE: Oh wow. That’s so awesome! What about the meaning behind “Vahalla Waits?” I believe it’s related to Norse mythology?
THE METAL WARRIOR: Yeah, “Valhalla Waits” is Norse related. It’s not based on any actual event. It is based on my own story concept and idea of this Viking that is going into battle and he happens to fall in battle, and his brother (or friend) comes to his side as he is dying (bridge) and he tells him to basically remember me to my family. But before he dies he is gonna pull himself up and lead the charge and take out as many of the enemies as he can. (Kinda like the scene in Lord of the Rings when Boromir is shot with a few arrows and he falls down but rises up and fights ‘til he has nothing left.)
METAL BABE: I noticed that you have a section on your website with Valkyries
wearing Malice shirts. How can fans get their picture on your site?
THE METAL WARRIOR: Well, that is basically our female fans that have been kind enough to either email me photos or post photos on FaceBook of themselves wearing Malice Merchandise. So we will put up pretty much any lady that has the Malice merch on.
METAL BABE: That’s great. You have a lot of nice pictures up there. What upcoming shows do you have booked?
THE METAL WARRIOR: Right now we have Rockfest (Wisconsin) and Swordmetal Fest V (Minnesota) booked. We are currently booking a tour to the west coast with Kantation and have a few shows announced in California. We have some other shows that we are currently working on for January as well.
METAL BABE: Since this is a Vegas-based magazine, we need to tie in “Sin City” to our interview… Has Malice ever played Vegas? If not, what would be your perfect gig there?
THE METAL WARRIOR: Yeah, we played Vegas in October of 2015 at Throwback Metal Fest. We had a great time. It was a two-day fest and we played the first night. We walked off stage and the promoter loved us so much he asked us to play the second night. We ended up being the only band that played both nights. We plan to return to Vegas in January 2017 too.
METAL BABE: It looks like Malice stands behind Not For Sale and RADD, can you tell us more about your relation to these organizations and how we can help show our support?
THE METAL WARRIOR: Well Not For Sale is an organization that fights human trafficking and that is something myself and the band are passionate about. We donate money to their organization, and have done shows to bring awareness to human trafficking. With Not For Sale you can either donate to them directly on their website, or by buying ‘Triumph and Glory’ and we will donate. We are not officially with RADD, but we are rockers who oppose drunk driving.
METAL BABE: What final words would you like to say to your fans?
THE METAL WARRIOR: We hope to see you at our shows and thank you for your loyalty.
METAL BABE: Thank you for taking the time for the interview Raymond. We look forward to your upcoming release and seeing you live in Los Angeles, Vegas, or both!