Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from MAL. Besides is released on April 14, 2023. Our regular readers will recall how impressed we’ve been with MAL previously, so we were excited to see the band reach the top of our reviews pile again today.

Besides is made to look like a love song / break-up song between two lovers, but it really a social commentary on the divisiveness of the current binary political climate. If you’ve not heard of the band before, MAL is sometimes affectionately referred to as the ‘Hall & Oates of Metal’” …although they’re not metal at all.

This latest single, Besides, is a powerful alt-rock track that touches on grunge and hard rock styles. There are moments in the track where one could draw comparisons to Nirvana, for example.

Besides starts with a simple hi-hat pattern that is joined by electric guitar and some gorgeous bass notes. The build in the intro leading to the first verse gives the listener a great indication of the power and rise and fall to come later in the track.

Besides has a wonderful 6/4 feel and contains some great sections and a very dynamic soundscape, with rise and fall and stops used perfectly to maintain the listeners’ interest.

Lead vocals are powerful, heavy, gravelly and a touch grungey – think Kurt Cobain but with some strong higher notes thrown in.

We loved the change of direction in the breakdown, with a warm picked guitar and great use of ride cymbal with the kick drum powerfully bringing the song out into a different section.

MAL’s musicianship is evident throughout this track, with each musician given plenty of opportunity to really shine. A stinger ending to the track lends itself to a sync deal, and the band tells us that they are in discussions with a horror movie director.

Ideas from our ears

A fairly large boost around 55Hz would help to thicken up the low end. A large high shelf boost in the top octave would bring out the brighter aspects of the track too. The snare is a little dominant so a careful cut around 195Hz would help it fit a little better. The vocal track may benefit from a cut around 2.5kHz to reduce the occasional ‘harsh’ tone. Finally, a light compressor/limiter with maybe 3dB of make-up gain would help balance out the volume differences throughout the track. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.

Final thoughts

MAL are producing consistently impressive and quality music that draws inspiration from several sub-genres within the rock arena. This latest track, Besides, is a powerful grunge/alt-rock track that will delight fans of Ozzy Osbourne, Alien Ant Farm, Nirvana and similar.

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