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Finnish metal crew Malpractice are the latest addition to Sensory Records' ever impressive roster of innovatively minded bands. Inking a deal with the label back in April this year, roll on five months and here we have their Sensory debut, 'Turning Tides', their fourth full length release. In existence since 1994, their career and, more noticeably, their recorded output, has seemingly been plagued with lengthy periods of inactivity during the past two decades. And 'Turning Tides' is the first new music they've recorded for six years, what with the album's predecessor, 'Triangular', materialising back in 2008. So we're hardly talking about the most prolific of acts here. However, what we are talking about is a riveting thrash-edged prog metal suite of tunes. And while Malpractice haven't been too forthcoming with their recordings, it's kind of explicable by taking a glance at their personnel. Featuring the dual-axe attack of Omnium Gatherum's Markus Vanhala and Joonass Koto, the former is also a member of Insomnium, while the latter plied his trade in To/Die/For until 2009. So yeah, I guess they've been kind of busy with what can be construed as their "day-job" band/s.

So, what of the music on 'Turning Tides'? Well, as I've already identified, this is thrash-edged prog metal. And it comes as no surprise to learn that Malpractice, during their first couple of years in existence, began life as a more straightforward thrash act, as their compositions still bear the trace of such; rather prominently in places. Thus, cue many passages of music that are characterised by speedy, palm-muted, root-fifth based riffage. However, this works a treat within their evidently more progressive mentality. Not only do the thrash flavours bestow songs with a compelling metal impetus, they also develop and integrate these, intelligently, into a more innovative and progressive dynamic.

While it would be misleading, and even dismissive, to label this as progressive thrash (for that it is not), Malpractice succeed in eschewing the generic trappings of both thrash and prog; instead, they combine elements of both into a pleasingly inventive whole. That said, these Finns' music is not mindblowingly innovative; rather, it's different enough to stand out from the crowd without resorting to any kind of stilted experimentation. And they seem to be working within the parameters of their own rules, with 3-5 minute quick hitters, alongside tracks that clock in at 7 and 15 minutes. They even throw in a purely instrumental piece with 'Symphony of Urban Discontent' that affords the players space to let rip with what verges on virtuosity, in a track that brings to mind technical thrash pioneers Coroner. And, as a whole, there's some fine playing throughout the entire album, along with an emotionally engaging vocal performance by Aleksi Parviainen. All in all, a solid return from Malpractice.
Review by Mark Holmes
16th Sept 2014
1) Best Kept Secret
2) Weight of the World
3) Irony Tower
4) State Within a State
5) Turning Tides
6) Symphony of Urban Discomfort
7) Out
"Malpractice succeed in eschewing the generic trappings of both thrash and prog; instead, they combine elements of both into a pleasingly inventive whole."