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Italian band Maledia formed back in 2000 and could be construed by what some would label as Gothic Metal (although such a subgenre's precise definition has been more or less entirely divorced from its original conception since pioneers of its stylistics, Paradise Lost). Still, add some keyboards to metal, some melancholic melodies, female/male vocals and you have the twenty first century's perception of what constitutes a debatable Gothic Metal band. Maledia fit such a blueprint and here we have their sophomore album in the form of 'Your Angels Cry'. Musically, compositions are nicely layered with guitar riffs/leads, keyboards, bass and drums, and rich with melody, alternating between mid and up-tempo structures. However, the album's prominent weakness is the vocals. Matters start promising with opener 'By the Light of the Moon'. An atmospheric build-up with keyboards and a whirling wind effect overlaid with a female voice, then switches into up-tempo mode and guitarist Daniele Pagnotta opens the singing with a likeable rock voice. However, it all takes a turn for the worse when the operatic vocals of "Loo" kick in (an unfortunate name in English, which I'm guessing isn't the case in the band's native Italy). While hitting some of the right notes, she's tonally flat and sharp with some of the lyrics she delivers which is such a shame as everything else about Maledia is pretty good. This is generally the case throughout, although it only seems to be at the high end of her voice where she has tuning issues. Second track, 'Till Death Doth Us Unite', for example, has a passage near the beginning where she's not full-on soprano in her delivery and seems to be largely in tune. I can't help but think this album would've worked so much better if there were significantly more of Pagnotta's rock vocals and an in-tune, female operatic voice used far more sporadically. Ironically, Loo's best singing on the album, on 'Obscura', is wrecked by some of the worst, most misplaced death vocals I've ever had the misfortune of hearing (courtesy of someone billed as Agonia Blackvomit...and the guy does sound like he's spewing up some kind of blackened vileness so lives up to his name, I guess). If this was the best death voice Maledia could find to adorn (sorry, abate) their music, then I'd be intrigued to hear the worst. Strip away some of the vocal mishaps and this would've scored much higher. But with Loo's vocals dominating so many of the songs, it's quite a painful listen and a chore to reach the final bar of music.
Ravenheart Music
Review by Mark Holmes
28th May 2012
1) By the Light of the Moon
2) Till Death Doth Us Unite
3) Fireflies
4) Your Angels Cry
5) Hellrain
6) Obscura
7) Venom Heart
"Musically, compositions are nicely layered with guitar riffs/leads, keyboards, bass and drums, and rich with melody...However, the album's prominent weakness is the vocals."