The members of the band formerly known only as Dios deserved to be pissed when metal singer Ronnie James Dio's lawsuit forced them to add the parenthetical Malos to their name. But Dio may have done the band a favor. Dios, which translates as Gods, was the perfect name for the band circa its 2004 eponymous debut: Despite the occasionally rag-tag production, the LP's psych-pop sound was as big as the sky and as airy. Critics went into a frenzy, nicknaming Dios "the Mexican Beach Boys" and praying in the direction of Pet Sounds when they talked potential. But the band's new modifier, Malos bad makes clear what the frenzy obscured: Dios was always a band with bite, and new record Dios (Malos) bites way harder. Recorded with Phil Ek, sherpa to previous sonic pilgrims the Shins and Built to Spill, Dios (Malos) is mostly sharp where its predecessor was hazy, chockfull of minor keys, chugging guitars, and bass hooks made of sin. Even frontman Joel Morales' often heavenly melodies have a new undertow, one highlighted by his decidedly antiheroic lyrics. In other words, Dios (Malos) went to Seattle, holed up in Ek's studio, and got in touch with their baddest gods. Good for them: It's always been the bad gods who rule rock.
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