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The Global Village
Released: 2000, Underground Symphony
In my mind Underground Symphony is the coolest labels in Italy right now. Madsword typifies the high calibre of progressive power metal coming out of Italy and on this label right now. The packaging is amazing! How can these new bands afford this? A very high gloss, 10 page booklet with full lyrics, lots of cool, computer generated renderings of a futuristic sci-fi type world. The cover is a beautiful piece by famed Fantasy/Sci-Fi artist Luis Royo whose art is found on many covers of the magazine Heavy Metal.
This is Madswords second release and it is fantastic. As with many newer Italian bands they haven't fully mastered English or translation but who cares? The music does the talkin' and it talks up a storm. This five piece act create nine songs (and a sound effect laden intro) of inspired progressive metal. The songs are a little longer, five of the nine cuts clocking in at 7 minutes or more, including the obligatory 10 minutes plus epic, but I never became bored. Major influences would be Rush and Dream Theater but enough distinction to avoid the clone tag. The most interesting elements are the nice use of keyboards that compliment the songs not overshadow them. Many of the songs have a very nice acoustic / electric interplay which works very nicely to add "space" to what could be a very dense listening experience, (if ya know what I mean). Added touches include a few sound-effects, vocal effects and some narration. Some CD's benefit from listening on top-notch system with headphones with few distractions and this is one of those CD's. Overall the songs aren't too fast or plagued by the overindulgent playing of many prog acts. The vocals are silky smooth and higher up the register without being yelpy. Maybe, just maybe, the songs could do with a slightly faster tempo or a more even pacing. Lyrically the theme is the internet and the future and what it may hold for the global village. I have read several reviews praising this CD to high heaven and I'm very inclined to join them. A complex and challenging listen but well worth the effort.
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