Reviewed: June, 2020
Released: 2020, Art Gates Records
Reviewer: Kat Knite
Swedish power metal act Mad Hatter released their sophomore album ‘Pieces of Reality’ through Art Gate Records on May 22, 2020. Their sound is influenced by classic heavy metal acts, which has won over fans and led the band to perform around the world, including at Gineta Rock Festival in Spain in 2018. Their single ‘Winter Time’ has even been featured on several Spotify playlists.
Let’s start with the positive. Overall, the band has put work into their record and it shows. The instruments are clean and tight, the members practiced musicians. Production-wise, I hear a clear and well put-together project. Technically, there is nothing wrong here. ‘Fever Dreams’ offers an intriguing, creepy intro, reminiscent of a haunted funhouse crawling with evil clowns and deranged beings. This was the moment I hoped to be surprised by the album to follow, and sadly, was disappointed instead.
The connection to Iron Maiden is obvious as soon as I hear ‘Master of the Night’. Already after the first song I’m not particularly interested in hearing the rest of the album. While Peter Hjerpe has some skill as a singer, neither his technique nor his tone is complete to my ear. ‘Rutledge Asylym’ does incorporate a cool musical breakdown, but I feel like I’m searching for good things to say at this point, hoping I can give an honest and constructive review.
‘The Children of the Stars’ offers an example of a theme on this record that I’ve seen countless times before. All I can think about is Iron Maiden‘s originality, and the pointlessness of creating something too similar, yet of a lower caliber. The key change is a false attempt at being unpredictable, instead coming off generic. Personally, this song gives me an anxious energy that I can’t wait to be done with.
Mad Hatter‘s use of a Spanish-influenced guitar on ‘The Valley‘, and the way they transition the melody into metal is one thing I found interesting on the entirety of ‘Pieces of Reality’. Unfortunately there is no further improvement during ‘Awake’ and ‘Collector of Souls’. The songs have a repetitive nature, choral vocals that I found annoying, and musical skill that is good but not captivating.
Regretfully, the worst part of the album is the grand finale, ‘I’ll Save the World’. The instrumentation makes me wonder what oversaturated Christmas-metal universe I’ve stepped into. The only thing keeping it all going at this point is the bearable musicianship. All in all, I’m relieved when the song is over.
My conclusion is that this band is just way too cheesy and unoriginal for me. Nothing about ‘Pieces of Reality’ made me feel or think anything new or inspiring. Perhaps if you’d like to go jump around at one of their shows you’ll enjoy yourself. I appreciate the effort that Mad Hatter has put into their project, but it isn’t for me.