The first thing to point out is that the English meaning of the word ‘Malady’ is a disease or ailment. “an incurable malady", however in the case of the Finnish band ‘Malady’, on review here, it means for me a breath of fresh air and a total cure (or change) from a great deal of the often boring over riffed progressive metal currently being released into the progressive rock market. No this second offering by ‘Malady’ entitled ‘Toinen Toista’ is just so beautiful in every respect wonderfully calming and just so relaxing.
Seemingly combining the best elements of the melodic Italian symphonic progressive rock music scene with sprinklings of 1970s UK Canterbury Rock, namely ‘Caravan’, the combinations of fluid Hammond organ with exquisite joyful guitar totally envelope your whole being sending you into raptures of complete progressive rock heaven. A total delight too are the absolutely fabulous bass lines that sway and dominate throughout with such authority and panache and periodically standing out of the mix as actually being the lead instrument.
The entire album is an absolute delight, full of melodic charm with exquisitely arranged well considered time signatures creating subtle changes of direction. The multi-part layering of lead guitar flute, organ, and other keyboards are quite fascinating, particularly in the way the music stack is frequently flipped about, reversed and then reassembled back together the instruments then taking turns in becoming centre stage. Every now and then and integrated into the amalgam elements of jazz guitar and jazz bass lines frequent to the fore adding both interest and diversity. And on the subject of diversity the lead guitar manoeuvres between periods of almost throaty psychedelic distortion to bright, clear, crisp and almost classic aspirations.
Despite the vocals being sung exclusively in the Finnish language they too suit the music arrangements are certainly delivered with style and are quite enjoyable. From the press announcement Lyricist and drummer for Malady, Juuso Jylhänlehto, has said "this album is open to many interpretations and laden with symbolism, but at its core lays the basic questions of being human and the transient nature of things." These are subjects that have been explored since time immemorial, yet ones that continue to be reflected on in new ways by Malady.
It has been awhile since I have enjoyed an album so much, this for me is the complete package combining superb musicianship, interesting arrangements and challenging ideas with the idea of melody being the central pillar of the proceedings. I have too close on saying again, that Jonni Tanskanen’s bass guitar arrangements are unbelievably interesting throughout and are well worth the cost of the CD alone.
Summary: If your budget only extends to the purchase of a single album for 2018 then this is it – go buy this piece of progressive rock grandeur.
Artwork; Interesting artwork.
Malady Tony Björkman: Guitar
Babak Issabeigloo: Guitar + Vocals
Juuso Jylhänlehto: Drums
Ville Rohiola: Hammond + Keyboards
Jonni Tanskanen: Bass guitar
A1 Toinen Toista
A2 Laulu Sisaruksille
A3 Tiedon Kehtolaulu
A4 Etsijän Elinehto
B1 Nurja Puoli