In keeping in line with their always eclectic roster of artists, Svart Records brings us Finland's Malady, a five piece prog rock outfit comprised of Tony Björkman (guitar), Babak Issabeigloo (guitar, vocals), Juuso Jylhänlehto (drums), Ville Rohiola (Hammond organ, keyboards), and Jonni Tanskanen (bass guitar). Malady's self-titled debut is all about brooding atmosphere, warm analog sound, and vintage instrumentation. Though the vocals are sung in Finnish, it doesn't detract from the enjoyment factor here, as most of the songs rely heavier on the musical abilities of the band rather than the vocals. "Kantaa taakan maa" and "Unessakävelijä" both feature glorious Hammond organ floating over some fuzz toned guitar riffs and bluesy lead solos, while the dramatic "Aarnivalkea" drops right into Uriah Heep territory with its booming Hammond & guitar riffs and clever vocal passages. The moody & atmospheric "Pieniin saariin" starts off as a brooding prog rocker before morphing into a wild Deep Purple inspired jam, another of the album's highlights. Two brief instrumental tracks round out the album, the pastoral "Kakarlampi" and the lovely flute number "Loittoneva varjoni".
Sure, images of Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Wigwam, and Iron Butterfly pop up all around on Malady's debut, but it's just as much a loving tribute to their heroes as it is five guys just trying to create original music with meaning. Prog fans will definitely want to investigate this one.
01_Kantaa taakan maa