Spanish duo TodoMal’s name translates to ‘all evil’ or ‘all bad’, yet their latest album is literally titled A Greater Good. But glaring contrast always makes for an interesting pairing in rock and metal. Born during the lockdown in 2020, TodoMal’s blend of traditional doom metal elements with post-rock touches and a hint of gothic influence caught my ear with 2021’s Ultracrepidarian.
With their latest release, they streamline and expand their sound to even greater expanses. For a two-man-act comprising of Christopher Baque-Wildman and Javier Fernández, their music sounds uncompromisingly big and all-enveloping. The band is situated in the somewhat barren area of the Spanish heartland north of the Alcarria region, so it’s no surprise that their sound reflects this imposing landscape.
The gothic-cosmic majesty of Silent Mass is where things begin. The overall tone of the song reminds me of a modern take on Candlemass but with a greater spacey sense of weight and depth. The guitars are suitably menacing, and the mix is profoundly impressive and has a lot of clarity. Vocalist Baque-Wildman is a veteran of several Spanish metal acts and delivers remarkably strong yet accessible vocals to suitably accompany the apocalyptic instrumentation.
The music is haunting, powerful, dense and seemingly centred by universal forces….
High Time launches with some decidedly church-sounding organ before a killer melodic riff rips through the listener’s ears, then giving way to an orchestral and plodding verse and chorus. TodoMal’s blend of their influences truly feels more than the sum of its parts, and it is best represented on this track. True to its name, the incendiary Inferno Tristi sounds like funeral doom meant for an Old God rather than some mere mortal, while the partially acoustic ballad Dust And Nothingness is sure to please fans of the more melancholy works of Opeth and Anathema.
Antichrist Of Love – which sounds like the title of a parody/mashup Slayer video – doesn’t do anything wrong per se but sounds like a less impressive amalgamation of the previous tracks, not exactly deviating from the TodoMal formula. Loss is another acoustic led ballad with female vocals from Macedonian singer Teodora Gosheva, while the final title track expands upon the aforementioned elements with a bit of a power metal flare. It makes me think of cosplayers wielding swords more than tortured souls in ruined wastelands, but that’s okay.
While the latter half of A Greater Good loses some of its impact, it’s still a very impressive record being that this is TodoMal’s sophomore follow-up. The music is haunting, powerful, dense and seemingly centred by universal forces. Fans of majestic power metal, gloomy doom metal and planetary post-metal should find TodoMal‘s efforts to their liking. It is indeed greater and is indeed good.
Scribed by: Rob Walsh