Released: 2013, Despotz
It feels nice to be able to review a Tad Morose album. Like many people I had assumed that after a 10-year absence, the band was done. You can only wait so long before a band changes status from, ‘They ARE a good band’ to ‘They WERE a great band’. In my mind Tad Morose were a great band and after many years I had assumed they were gone forever. I was delighted to learn that after a whole decade they have returned.
For a veteran act I think they realized that they had to put out a killer record to compete and regain some of the credibility, reputation and awareness of the Metal community and I feel that REVENANT is that record. The Swedish Progressive/Power Metal band had churned out six excellent albums and an EP in 10 years, so it is strange to think that for some younger fans this is almost like discovering a new band.
However, enough talk of the past, in the here and now REVENANT finds the band on a newer, smaller label and with a new logo and oddly perhaps a shockingly graphic cover art, by the bands usual standards. Usually they have some under-stated covers with some subtle religious iconography or imagery. In fact every single Tad Morose album cover to date had an image of a church or temple or monument from ancient days (Ancient Greece, Ancient Europe, Ancient Egypt) but with REVANENT we are greeted by a skeletal zombie dude erupting from the crimsons seas. It is a striking image for a striking album.
After a long period of inactivity it is only naturally that the line-up would change and there are three new members joining founding guitarist, Christer Anderson, Kenneth Jonsson on guitar and Tommi Karppanen. Finding a replacement for long-time vocalist Urban Breed must have been difficult but new vocalist Ronnie Hemlin does a fantastic job. His voice has the perfect blend of range, power and grit for this type of band. He never gets too high, just staying on the midrange. The line-up is rounded-out by drummer, Peter Moren who has been with the band from the beginning. Oddly enough Peter, Ronnie, Tommi and Christer were all in Inmoria so it is not like this is a brand ‘new’ band, they all have previous experience and chemistry.
The album starts off with likely one the fastest heaviest songs the band has ever done, ‘Beneath A Veil Of Crying Souls’ and settles nicely into another 11 cuts of mid-paced Metal. The band never get to frantic preferring to stay in that crunchy, head-banging zone that keeps the songs from going off the rails. There are many elegant and tasteful solos spread across all the record. The strength of the album are the songs, catchy and heavy and memorable. Highlights fro me are ‘Death Embrace’ with a simple chugging line and a powerful vocal. The album ends on a strong note with a slightly more orchestrated piece called ‘Gypsy’ with an interesting pacing of medium, slow, fast and back to medium again.
I can’t say enough good things about this record. The production is good, the guitars are nice and loud and up-front. The writing is interesting with good ideas and good arrangements but ever loyal to the conventions of staunchly classic Metal. The new singer nails it, and I’m so glad that Tad Morose is back. I am not even the slightest bit sad about REVANANT, it is a fantastic and welcome return that meets and exceeds all my expectations.