I spent a lot of hours listening to Scandinavian prog. But I also love Finnish prog as well (Finland isn’t part of Scandinavia for those curious). But that entire peninsula has given the world so many great bands over the years and Finland has really joined the conversation with some great prog rock (Von Hertzen Brothers for example) and prog metal (Amorphis for example) bands. Adding to this ever growing list is Malady. Malady play an old school style of prog with plenty of complexity but also a bit focus on melody.
Vintage is one word to describe their new album “Toinen Toista” which would not sound out of place in the 70s. I say this a lot with bands like Wobbler, Jordsjø, and Anima Morte but Malady aren’t paying tribute. Rather this is another band that lives and breaths that old school prog sound. They don’t fake it at all.
The album kicks off with the title track which sounds like the band tuning up for a bit before really getting into it. You think it’s a cool instrumental until the vocals show up more than half way through. The one somewhat downside to Malady (which is similar to another band I recently reviewed Jordsjø) is that the vocals aren’t QUITE on the same level as the music. I suppose a band like Wobbler has spoiled me with amazing vocals and harmonies.
Still, the music is great with an awesome guitar riff, very cool organ part and yes MELLTRON! The song segues perfectly into the short “Laulu sisaruksille” and while I tend not to like interludes, this one joins the tracks on each side of it so well. It’s first half is all mellotron and then strings finish it as it flows into “Tiedon kehtolaulu.” That song has this FM breezy funky vibe that reminds me musically of “Reminiscing” by the Little River Band. Before everyone loses it, I mean the arrangement and instrumentation are similar. It’s an great song.
The organ dominated “Etsijän elinehto” is next but it’s the bass line on this track that blows me away. Finally, the key track is the 23 minute closer “Nurja puoli” which has all the prog “bells and whistles” you would expect. It also shows that Wobbler and Big Big Train isn’t the only modern prog band that can crank out a classic epic.
Malady might not have reinvented prog rock but they have added an important album to the long list of great ones. Obviously, if you need lyrics in English, you might look elsewhere. But I think most prog fans know that music is the universal language and “Toinen Toista” should have universal appeal.
1. Toinen toista
2. Laulu sisaruksille
3. Tiedon kehtolaulu
4. Etsija?n elinehto
5. Nurja puoli
Label: Svart Records
Release Date: 16 March 2018