Album Review – Malacoda / The Strain EP (2021)

Inspired by the works of Guillermo Del Toro, this Canadian entity is unleashing upon us all their second EP of the year, delving even further into their horror inspired roots.

3.0rating

malacoda-the-strain-ep-2021After the releases of their debut self-titled album in 2015, the EP Ritualis Aeterna in 2016, the full-length opus Restless Dreams in 2018, and the EP Crawling Chaos earlier this year, Oakville, Canada-based metal band Malacoda continues to deliver their fusion of Gothic, Power, Symphonic, Melodic and Progressive Metal for our total delight with their second EP of the year, entitled The Strain. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own founder, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lucas Di Mascio at Old Haunt Recording Studio,  and displaying a goth artwork by Yeganeh Ghasemi featuring model Goddess Ov Death, The Strain is inspired by the works of the one and only Guillermo Del Toro, delving even further into the band’s horror inspired roots and bringing forward all the talent of the aforementioned Lucas together with guitarist Wes MacDonald and bassist Zak Stulla, not to mention an array of guest musicians to make the EP even more compelling.

The title-track The Strain already begins in full force to the symphonic and epic keys by Lucas while guest drummer Andrew Suarez (Bangin Productions, Fatality) showcases all his dexterity behind his drum set, adding an extra touch of heaviness to the music, and also presenting elements from Doom and classic Heavy Metal with Lucas delivering his Ghost/Candlemass/Mercyful Fate-inspired vocals. Then featuring additional vocals by Beth Wilson and with Lucas taking care of the drumming duties, Crimson Peak is a slower but heavy-as-hell and obscure creation where Wes extracts sheer darkness from his riffage and solo, accompanied by the melodic, rumbling bass by Zak; whereas investing into a more progressive sonority were treated to Where Shadows Play, another solid tune by the band to also feature additional vocals by Beth Wilson, with Lucas and Beth making a great vocal duo while guest drummer Victor Boechat smashes his drums mercilessly from start to finish. And lastly, a very melodic and introspective intro morphs into the Gothic Rock and Metal feast entitled Mind Flayer, featuring drummer Ryan Claxton (This Is Death Valley) and additional vocals by Wes, while Lucas presents both his powerful clean vocals and his demonic gnarls from start to finish.

malacoda-2021You can stream the full EP on Spotify, show your support to Malacoda by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and click HERE for all social media, links to buy their music and merch, videos and so on. “There really is a balance of dark aggression and beauty in these songs,” stated Lucas about the band’s new EP, complementing by saying that “that’s been the consistent tone with these four tracks – keeping it dark but letting some tender spots poke through.” And let’s say Lucas nailed it, with his words precisely describing the music found in The Strain and, consequently, inviting us all to join him and his henchmen in the dark realm ruled by Malacoda, and proving Malacoda are following a healthy and strong musical path, evolving as a band and providing us all fans high-quality metal music made in Canada with each one of their releases.

Best moments of the album: The Strain and Where Shadows Play.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. The Strain 7:49
2. Crimson Peak 3:51
3. Where Shadows Play 3:51
4. Mind Flayer 5:11

Band members
Lucas Di Mascio – vocals, keys, drums on “Crimson Peak”
Wes MacDonald – guitar, additional background vocals on “Mind Flayer”
Zak Stulla – bass

Guest musicians
Andrew Suarez – drums on “The Strain”
Victor Boechat – drums on “Where Shadows Play”
Ryan Claxton – drums on “Mind Flayer”
Beth Wilson – background vocals on “Crimson Peak” and “Where Shadows Play”

Album Review – Malacoda / Ritualis Aeterna EP (2016)

The fallen angel of Symphonic and Horror Metal returns with six dark, romantic compositions that will beautifully captivate your metallic mind and heart.

Rating4

final-ritualis-aeternaThe city of Oakville, a small suburban town located in Southern Ontario, Canada, might be the headquarters of The Headbanging Moose, but it’s far from being considered a metal city, and that has always bothered me a bit. Fortunately, for the total delectation of all metalheads in Oakville, things are starting to get more metallic in this peaceful and charming city thanks to the awe-inspiring fusion of Power, Symphonic and Horror Metal crafted by Malacoda, a very talented band that will truly impress fans of renowned acts like Kamelot, King Diamond and Dimmu Borgir. Taking their name from a demon from the Inferno of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Malacoda’s dark and romantic vision of the world will certainly captivate you through the epic musicality found in their brand new EP, titled Ritualis Aeterna, a fantastic follow-up to their self-titled debut album from 2014.

Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Lucas Di Mascio, the mastermind behind Malacoda who studied Literature and Religion at university, explains the band’s concept. “Malacoda was the name of a very minor character in the book, a fallen angel who flies around with a small army of demons torturing helpless souls in Hell. From a literary perspective, I found it interesting that he wasn’t merely an evil creature being tortured for his sins, but was given free reign to do what he pleases and takes it upon himself to torture other wicked souls in the spiritual prison that is Dante’s Inferno. I wanted a powerful name that fit not only the sound of the band but also the lyrical themes I touch upon. I wanted something dark, but not something that would be blatantly devilish sounding. The name translates roughly in Italian to ‘Cruel Tail’ and most people don’t see it and think “this band is named after a demon” and see it as something more romantic sounding.”

malacoda-pressphoto-credit-garykuiperwebA theatrical intro sustained by a background choir warms up the listener for a Mercyful Fate-like aria named Penny Dreadful, inspired by the since canceled Showtime TV show by the same name, with the keyboards by Jonah Weingarten being a blend of Symphonic Metal with the ominous sounds of Dimmu Borgir, while the King Diamond-ish vocals by Lucas maintain an interesting level of mystery during the whole song. In the excellent I Got A Letter, ominous piano notes beautifully grow into a blend of passion and anger, especially in the vocals by Lucas alternating between clean, melancholic lines and harsh growls. This is a wonderful display of Gothic and Horror Metal that will enchant the minds of fans of dark music for sure, with the final guitar solo by Brad Casarin being absolutely perfect for the music and concept proposed.

You’ll have a very good time experiencing tons of epicness and mystery in the Symphonic Metal composition Pandemonium, where Jonah continues to impress with his somber keyboards while drummer Mike Harshaw is precise with his potent beats. The Wild Hunt is even more symphonic and theatrical than all previous tunes, with Jonah and Mike providing all the support for Lucas to once again fire his demented vocals inspired by Danish legend Kim Bendix Petersen (and I bet you know who this guys is), followed by Linger Here, a gentle piano ballad full of melancholy and agony. Focusing on the combination of the piano sounds with the emotional vocals by Lucas, this tune proves this talented band can also generate high-end love songs, expanding their musical range considerably. However, all that calmness doesn’t last long, as epic and somber elements are back in the modern There Will Always Be One, a contrast to the tenderness of the previous track, with its powerful backing vocals and the solo by Brad elevating its overall potency.

This dark theatre of heavy music can be better appreciated by visiting Malacoda’s Facebook page or YouTube channel, with Ritualis Aeterna being on sale at their BandCamp page or at their official webstore. The six dark and romantic songs in Ritualis Aeterna, thoroughly crafted by the fallen angel of Symphonic and Horror Metal called Malscoda, will undoubtedly enthrall you from start to finish, definitely putting our glorious city of Oakville on the map of Canadian Metal once and for all.

Best moments of the album: Penny Dreadful and I Got A Letter.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Penny Dreadful 5:34
2. I Got A Letter 4:37
3. Pandemonium 3:39
4. The Wild Hunt 4:20
5. Linger Here 2:23
6. There Will Always Be One 3:47

Band members
Lucas Di Mascio – vocals, bass, rhythm guitar
Brad Casarin – lead guitar
Jonah Weingarten – keyboards
Mike Harshaw – drums

Guest musicians
Jessy Oppenheimer – guitar solo on “Penny Dreadful”
Joe Waller – guitar solo on “Penny Dreadful”

Live musician
Cooper Seldon – bass