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Kenneth W. (Eyesore) from TAUNTON, MA
Reviewed on 12/4/2007...
Wicked Maraya are a band I'd never heard of until recently. The song "Another Day" was playing on one of those Music Choice channels that some cable providers offer these days and I really liked what I heard. So, I hopped on the eBay train and it lead me right to this CD, roundtrip fare: $4.99. They play a mid-paced form of dark, old school rock/metal with Lou Falco doing a superb job on vocals in the traditional hard rock vein with some upper-register wails and a few more guttural screams.
The best thing about this CD is the songs, though. They're extremely catchy and well crafted. There is nothing mind-blowing about this disc, the twin guitar leads are great, but not amazing, as is the overall musicianship of the band. As mentioned before, the vocals are done extremely well, but this is no Geoff Tate (though the singer does have a few resembling moments). So, that leaves you with the songs themselves; individually the band is nothing spectacular, but as a whole they've managed to put together a collection of killer metal tunes. If you like some of the heavier rock bands from the 80's that toyed on the edge of full-blown metal then you should definitely give Wicked Maraya a try, if you come across the CD. If this album were released today, it would have already earned a slot on my Best Of 2005 list!
After this album and a successful European tour, the band dropped the "Wicked" from their name and continued on for two more albums as simply Maraya. Unfortunately the music changed, the band traded in their long hair and all-around metal look for short-crops and a more fashionable mainstream style of dress. Luckily they didn't rap, but the style of music drastically changed into a more upbeat, radio-friendly alternative rock sound. This wouldn't be so bad if the songs were actually good. At best, they're mediocre. Cycles, though, is a great metal album that you should definitely check out; an overlooked treasure. They disbanded in 1999 and the singer is now in a cover band in Florida called Funkette...seriously (see link).
Website: http://www.funkette.com/wicked-maraya.html *
* You can download the entire album for free here.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
The best album you've never heard
Justin Gaines | Northern Virginia | 05/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I suppose there was never really any chance that Wicked Maraya would be successful, which is a real shame since they released a truly classic album with their 1994 debut Cycles.
Wicked Maraya was an uncompromising metal band during a time when grunge was king. Their style simply defied all attempts at classification. This wasn't hair metal, or thrash, or power metal. It was just...metal. The closest point of comparison may be another American metal band that was starting out at about the same time - Nevermore.
Cycles had plenty of heaviness. It was melodic, but not overly so. The guitarist was talented but not pretentious. And the vocals walked that fine line between melodic and aggressive and just fit the music perfectly. All of the songs are quite well written.
This is one of those albums that few people have heard of, yet one every metal fan should own. Like the early releases by Warrior Soul, Cycles is an album that defies expectations and is a true original.
The band would later change their name to Maraya and adopt a more "modern" sound, but it just wasn't up to the standard set by Cycles.
The track listing is as follows:
1. Another Day
2. Jacob's Dance
4. Face in the Mirror
6. Watching Over
8. Winter's Garden
10. Sign of Heaven
11. the Legacy"
90's metal at its best
SaraKnospler | NJ | 06/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got this album years ago in either 1994 or 95 and it represents all that is metal... The band looks, feels, and plays the part. I recommend this to all you metal heads still livin' the lifestyle because it's nostalgic and makes me happy that people made this kind of music once."