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Cloudscape
New Era
September 2012
Released: 2012, Roasting House Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

This may be my first experience with Swedish progressive metallers Cloudscape, but the band has been around for a decade now, with three previous well-regarded albums under their belts. Since their last one, 2008’s GLOBAL DRAMA, the band has been through the ringer: three fifths of the band has been replaced, leaving only vocalist Michael Andersson and guitarist Patrik Svard from the original lineup. All of that makes NEW ERA an apt title for the band’s return.



Listening to NEW ERA, it’s clear that, to their credit, Cloudscape doesn’t subscribe to the typical formula followed by 90% of progressive metal bands. The musicianship is incredibly tight, but there is a refreshing lack of wankery in the songs, and no riffs that are obviously lifted from other sources (Dream Theater or otherwise). Also, the band’s song writing is equally refined and concise, with most songs clocking in at five minutes or less. Finally, vocalist Michael Andersson has a powerful voice and, although he has a solid range, rarely goes into the dog-whistle territory that his peers often do. All in all, it’s great that Cloudscape has carved an identity that is distinctly their own.



On the flip side though, is the fact that few of the songs on the album impressed me enough to stick in my mind. It’s a strange thing; all of the elements are in place to make an outstanding album, and yet somehow it doesn’t quite come together as I hoped it would. It could be just me, as it’s apparent that songs like “Silver Ending” and “Voyager 9” would have a lot of appeal for prog fans.



Even though I didn’t connect with it, NEW ERA is a solid release – the band’s fans should love it and it’s worth exploring for fans looking for something a little different in their progressive metal.
Track Listing

1. Silver Ending
2. Share Your Energy
3. Kingdom of Sand
4. Pull the Brake
5. Seen It All Before
6. Your Desire
7. Voyager 9
8. Simplicity…Huh
9. Before Your Eyes
10. Violet Eve
11. Into the Unknown
12. Heroes

Lineup

Michael Andersson: Vocals
Patrik Svard: Guitar
Stefan Rosqvist: Guitar
Hakan Nyander: Bass
Fredrik Joakimsson: Drums


Next review: » Cloven Hoof - Eye Of The Sun
Previous review: » Cloudscape - Global Drama





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