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Malacoda – The Strain

The Strain
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 05 September 2021, 2:55 AM

I've never heard a band that combines Gothic and power metal but here comes MALACODA and their new EP “The Strain" to announce this strange amalgamation exists—and works surprisingly. This Canadian band formed in 2014 and have released two other Eps and two full lengths. The best way I can describe this is a h less extreme version of bands like CRADLE OF FILTH and BAL-SAGOTH mixed with highly octane, highly theatrical power metal. Another bonus is that it doesn’t sound as corny as it should. If anything, it is deadly serious and that translates to a well played short but sweet ride for the listener.

What I like about this EP is the band never embraces their Gothic side so much they become too brooding or plodding. It handles that atmosphere  rather well by still keeping the whimsical power metal side as an equal personality in their split being. It doesn’t hurt their since of melody is strong and they make these mini epics without bloat and pretentious factors. The title track opens the album with a heavy but fun main riff, augmented by keyboard that lower that Gothic curtain. The vocals are slick as hell and a lot of different styles are presented in an ever revolving vocal approach that lends the song an ensemble feel.

The chorus found its way into my head for days—as did that wonderful solo and the destruction created by the bass afterwards. The drums increase in speed before going into a full gallop as they work side by side with the keyboards for a little mini epic romp. Simple but dark melodies and sorrowful cleans mark the beginning of “Crimson Peak". Lucas’ vocals on this track are incredible—melodic and forceful. The guitar is simple but uses variety that works for the song, melodic Gothic tones during the stanzas that build up into a mighty crunch when needed.

Where Shadows Play,” has a speedy set of galloping riffs that serve as the undercurrent for another excellent vocal performance. The drums accent those vocals during the chorus and keep the song flowing. The chorus of clean vocals that creep onto the background of the song are a nice touch.

The final track, “Mind Flayer,” is a song that is filled with anxiety and trepidation—-it constantly sounds like all these bottled up emotions are going to explode.
And it does—extreme vocals layered on top of the cleans burst out while the drums take it for all it’s worth. I’m definitely going to check out MALACODA’s other releases because “The Strain” made me an instant fan with its myriad, unique approach to power metal. I hope there is a full length soon!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Strain
2. Crimson Peak
3. Where Shadows Play
4. Mind Flayer
Lucas Di Mascio - Vocals (Lead), Keyboards, Drums (Track 2)
Zak - Bass
Wes MacDonald – Guitar
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 28 March 2023

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