I don’t really like to have half the review written for me.However, the guys from Malady kindly translated their website information from the Finnish as their English makes my total absence of Finnish look very embarrassing. So for those of you looking at the website, you can now see what some of the words mean and where these guys are coming from..
“Malady was formed in Helsinki in 2010 as a three-piece band (Tony Björkman/Guitar; Juuso Jylhänlehto/Drums and Jonni Tanskanen/Bass) and was initially intended as a one-album project. The album was originally to be released around 2030. The majority of the songs found on the debut album were conceived in the following few years.
Finding the guitar-bass-drums -combination insufficient, Babak Issabeigloo was asked to play the Hammond organ in 2012, which he promptly switched to the guitar and microphone. The role of the organist was filled by Ville Rohiola a few years later. The first album was recorded in summer and fall 2014 and was released by Svart records in late 2015.”
You would not immediately think of Finland as hot bed of talent and prog rock but, thanks to this album being pointed out to me by David Elliot (not of BEM, the other one), I say to you think again if you thought that, and Malady are anything to go by. The sound is retro being Hammond, guitar, bass and drums. The sound the music makes is reminiscent of Floyd (circa Syd up to ‘Meddle’), Camel (‘Rain Dances’/’Snow Goose”) and King Crimson (‘Larks Tongues’ period), with a hefty chunk of Psychedelia thrown in.
This an immensely chilled album, late night candles, you get the idea. Its atmosphere is very unique and conveys the message of the lyrics very well. The band delves into their own culture for some of the inspiration and at global issues for others. Musically these guys know what they are doing and can write very well and never override the music with their skill. The song here is the key and the work they have done shines through every chord sequence and solo. Do not let the language be a barrier here, you do not need to speak Finnish to love this music. The words are minimal and never a problem. I’ve played this album over 10 times and not got bored once, how can you get bored with the huge Hammond and bass combo and the understated but driven rhythm section.
There is nothing new about this album, it’s not earth shattering or ground breaking in its intent but, it is a great vehicle for these guys as writers and musicians.
High points for me are Unessakävelijä and Aarnivalkea, these alone are worth hearing for the money, however, the others are not fillers.
Unessakävelijä is very Floyd and has a sinister under current driving through it that maintains the interest to the very last note. Aarnivalkea – Camel fans take heed at this, they produce a fine 10 minute plus epic of variety that Messrs Latimer and Co. would be justly proud of on any of their albums. If any festival in the UK in 2016 is looking for Scandinavian talent look no further for a bit of coup.
Now, I don’t normally list the tracks of the albums but in this case I think it is needed.
Here is a brief explanation of the songs and titles, translated, with much thanks to Jonni:
Kantaa taakan maa – The Earth carries the burden – A pessimistic view about the impending devastation of nature and man’s impact on the environment. Mankind’s greed as a destructive force on planet earth and generations losing their faith in the future. Ultimately, as the title says outright, it’s the Earth that carries the burden.
Loittoneva varjoni – My receding shadow (instrumental)
Pieniin saariin – To small islands – A rather personal lyric by our guitarist. To this day I’m not entirely sure what it’s about. Something about one’s thoughts escaping to small islands, building worlds out of what you hold inside you. It’s pretty cryptic, to be honest.
Unessakävelijä – Sleep walker – A dreamscape of a man walking in a city in the night during Autumn completely alone, with everything around him silent. The lyrics for this one were never sung but they’re still in the liner notes.
Aarnivalkea – Will-o-the-wisp – Will-o-wisps have several explanations in numerous folklore, whether it be guiding people to safety or toward water for baptism. In Finnish folklore, The Aarnivalkea leads one to faerie gold…. or in this case, allegorically to one’s loved one.
Kakarlampi – Name of a pond in Finland. Instrumental song. Kakar can mean either a child or a red-throated diver (a bird).
Released 30th November 2015