Sometimes, a certain mood is needed to get access to music. It took me the whole way-too-busy December to find mine in Finnish prog act, MALADY. Now it’s January 2022 and the new year offered a few days to rest, and I found a wonderful smooth soundtrack for it: “Ainavihantaa” (out December 10th, 2021, via Svart Records). The band formed in Helsinki back in 2010 and this is their third release.
There is something special about this band’s music that makes it tricky for me to find the right words, as it has to be experienced. Striking from the beginning are the Finnish titles and lyrics, adding an unusual but interesting vibe, especially for a non-Finnish speaker. The vocals of Babak Issabeigloo, with his melancholic kind of singing, fit well with the overall mood. With a full, warm tone, Jonni Tanskanen lays down some absolutely mesmerizing bass lines that always draw me in. Juuso Jylhänlehto plays the drums in an amazing musical way that supports the songs perfectly. The keyboard instruments come up in beautiful, different sound colors, like Hammond organ or Mellotron, alternating with modern synth sounds. With the addition of a saxophone, they bring in another interesting instrument and a dash of jazz. Last but not least are the guitars, which wander between sharp, soft, and sometimes even funky styles.
All of the songs have long instrumental parts, while “Vapaa ja autio” and “Haavan väri” are completely without vocals. The album was recorded with the musicians playing together live in the studio, which creates a unique reciprocal entity.
To sum it up: this isn’t music to be played in the background on a busy day. The intense, smooth soundscapes MALADY create deserve a quiet surrounding and if you have a soft spot for high-quality prog-rock with a retro, probably early-era KING CRIMSON vibe, you might find plenty for your listening pleasure on “Ainavihantaa.” Everything fits well together, from the diverse songwriting and the variety in the use of different instruments, to the well-balanced production. They don’t have a track that totally stands out to me, nor does anything sound weak – it’s more of an atmospheric, musical journey in its entirety, worthy to dive into.
Written by Katha
1. Alava vaara
2. Vapaa ja autio
3. Sisävesien rannat
5. Haavan väri
Ville Rohiola – Keyboards
Juuso Jylhänlehto – Drums
Babak Issabeigloo – Guitar / Vocals
Jonni Tanskanen – Bass
Tony Björkman – Guitar
Taavi Heikkilä – Saxophone