There was a point when having some brass in your rock band was a novelty, but it’s so long ago I can hardly remember a time when bands like Bent Knee, Imperial Triumphant, Thank You, Scientist, White Ward, or Couch Slut weren’t dishin the doots ‘n’ toots like they’ve always belonged among bowel-jostling riffs, unconventional structures, and smart hooks. I’m sure this has made for some interesting discussions between the youths and their band teachers over the years, and I wholeheartedly believe the increased prominence (or maybe it's just my awareness) of actual, literal metal in heavy metal is a net-good. [Disclaimer: I come from a family of polka all-stars, so there’s definitely some bias here.]
So while horns have proven to be as flexible and important as their amplified counterparts, it's kind of obvious why we don’t hear even more in extreme music isn’t it? All those killer players are usually involved in, well, sax-ier things, like jazz. So, I think the special attention is warranted for those getting horny (not that kind) and it’s why I’m extra stoked to bring this freakish monster of a debut from Minneapolis’ Mal. The forward-thinking nature of this project is a no-brainer when you consider the lineup boasts members of Tulip, dana sterling, and Birth Order, but the brassy straw stirring the drink here is of course the rippin’ sax courtesy of Ivan Cunningham.
There are some specific comparisons to be made to the aforementioned above, but overall Mal carves out a niche for themselves. There are many facets to their sound, making the Malbum an interesting and curiosity piquing listen as some tracks skew more raw and noisy, others skew a little more technical and progressive, and some are outright weird. But throughout, this foursome always makes room for a hook, making the undertaking of figuring out their aural language both a joy and a challenge. So go ahead, stream the album below and remember to pre-order a digital copy or grab a cassette via Ordovician. This good, good, not mal release drops tomorrow, October 21.