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Maeve of Connacht
Released: 2001, Dragon`s Music
I am reviewing this CD without any information about the band other than that Hubi Meisel ex-Dreamscape vocalist has provided the voice for this project. One thing I hate to do is to review a disc when I really don’t know anything about the band. But unfortunately it can’t be helped in this circumstance. After searching the web all I can find about Maeve of Connacht is an Irish folktale about The Cattle Raid of Cooley. Its an interesting story if you want to search the web but it has no direct bearing in this cd, at least I don’t think so. Like I said, Hubi Meisel is the guest vocalist on this CD. He performs all vocals and joining him is Paolo Viani (ex Black Jester): all guitars, Eve Sonderberg: keyboards, Mani Pallinger: bass and Mike Sarembi; drums.
Its hard to pigeonhole the style of metal that is produced on this disc. It is progressive metal with touches of powermetal at times and a whole lot of atmosphere thrown in for good measure. Meisel doesn’t have the typical powermetal voice which is one of the things that gives this CD its different sound. He has a strong voice that is capable of power in one breath dropping right to the most silent of whispers at the same time carrying the emotion of the tune perfectly. "The Gift of Life" opens the Cd with a more uptempo track in the classic metal vein but still with some eccentric keyboard flourishes ala Sonderberg. Sarembi also establishes that he knows when to use his double bass drums for effect and when to let the other band members carry the tune. This song gets almost Jazzy in spots. The ballad "Forever" is one of the better songs on the disc with Meisel proving that he can breathe new emotion into subject matter that has been done a million times. "Princess of Connacht" is where the powermetal influence kicks in. Here is where the double bass is pounded and the guitars are shred but the band leaves their individual stamp with the use of some very interesting piano work used throughout the song and with Meisel’s understated vocals. "Another Chapter" is what could most closely be called prog metal. There is lots of guitar shredding, acoustic passages and time changes. The CD closes on a subdued note with the acoustic guitar piece "Clouds of Connacht".
I have to say that I hate not being able to tell you more about this band. I popped on the CD not expecting to write the review right away but after listening to it about 5 times while going about my business I figured it was as good a time as any. In the ever changing world of metal its hard to place some bands squarely in a certain genre. Maeve of Connacht certainly are hard to place. They have progressive elements, powermetal elements and even some folk bits and a sprinkling of jazz. Its an interesting mix that shows signs of becoming something great in the future.
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