Turning Tides is the fourth album from Finnish progressive metal act Malpractice, and first for Sensory Records. Honestly, they've pretty much finally found their 'home', as there are very few labels who really specialize in music of this nature, Sensory being perhaps the cream of the crop. Initially starting out as a thrash metal act, Malpractice slowly started to take on more progressive tendencies, and while some of the trash influence still remains, Turning Tides contains a wealth of soaring melodies, crushing riffs, and intricate passages, all components that generally find their way into progressive metal. The band these days is comprised of Joonas Koto (Guitar), Toni Paananen (Drums), Aleksi Parviainen (Vocals), Markus Vanhala (Guitar), and Jonas Mäki (Bass).
At times resembling a heavier & more complex Fates Warning, Malpractice possess plenty of guitar firepower in their arsenal, thanks to the stellar skills of Koto & Vanhala. Just listen to the massive riffs & blazing lead guitar passages on the aggressive "Irony Tower", or the thrashy staccato picking on the melodic "Weight of the World" for a taste of what these two guys can do. Of course, what better track to point to than the incredible instrumental "Symphony Of Urban Discomfort", as both guitarists lay down sizzling lead lines and pulverizing riffs over complex rhythms for some progressive metal at its very best. "State Within a State" sounds like a mix of Fates Warning and Megadeth, as Parviainen alternates between stunning melodic vocals and a more gruff attack clearly influenced by Dave Mustaine. The album of course has to have an adventurous epic, which comes in the form of the 15-minute title track. Here, the band infiltrate some keyboards into the mix, blending in atmospheric sections with some of the heavier passages, as Parviainen puts on a vocal clinic over well constructed guitar parts and complex rhythms. I love the layers of backing vocals, acoustic guitar, and keys which make up the dreamy middle section, before the intricate heavy riffs & acrobatic drum fills come back into play, making for an unreal segue. A tasty lead guitar solo adds another fine element to this excellent song.
While it might not be the most groundbreaking progressive metal album ever made, Turning Tides is very well done and contains all the things we've come to expect & enjoy from the genre. Malpractice have all the chops, can write some memorable songs, and throw in a hook or two in the middle of all the headbanging fun. Can't ask for much more than that!
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Best Kept Secret
2. Weight Of The World
3. Irony Tower
4. State Within A State
5. Turning Tides
6. Symphony Of Urban Discomfort