CD Reviews

Cloudscape - 'New Era' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 24, 2012    
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A superb album.

At the beginning of the 00’s a whole host of progressive metal bands sprang to life namely Circus Maximus, Silent Call, Seventh Wonder, Pagan’s Mind and last but not least Sweden’s Cloudscape. Each played highly melodic prog metal filled with amazing musicianship and great songs, which made you wait with bated breath for each band to release their new albums. Of late, however, whilst the others have been quite busy on the scene, Cloudscape seem to have kept a low profile and I wondered what had happened to them, since they put out ‘Global Drama’ some four years ago. The answer it would seem was working hard on a brand new album entitled ‘New Era’ and the songs on this album prove that all the effort the band have put into this release has been more than worth it.

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Like any great album this one isn’t an instant fix, instead it took me half a dozen listens (and more) before the album finally clicked. The songs make you work at enjoying and understanding them, giving up their secrets and melodies a little at a time, so that with each successive playing of the album, you hear a little bit more of what Cloudscape is trying to do on ‘New Era’. ‘Silver Ending’ the lead off track demonstrates this admirably; firstly you think the song is all about the heavy guitar riffs and powerhouse vocals of Mike Andersson yet as you continue to replay the album the subtle keyboards also courtesy of Mr Andersson work their way into every nook and cranny of the song and bring out a whole new dimension to the music. ‘Kingdom Of Sand’ has an Arabic flavour, with a wonderful harmony vocal filled chorus and some visceral riffs from the guitars of Patrik Svard. ‘Pull The Brake’ is for me the album’s standout track, where another huge riff is coupled with a restrained vocal that explodes from the speakers in a fiery heat-filled attack as soon as the chains are taken off; it also boasts a massive hook and a solo to die for. ‘Voyager 9’ has a mountain sized riff that is again joined with a keyboard heavy refrain, the vocals are dramatic and draw you into the eight minutes of epic progressive metal that make up this song. Finally I must mention ‘Heroes’ a track where Cloudscape show a subtler and more melodic side to their writing, the song itself is slower in pace than most of the album’s other cuts, and gives the instruments time to breathe and develop as they work their way through the song. Mike Anderssons’ vocals are emotive and powerful and this is a fine way to end such a superb album.

Cloudscape is back and you’d better smash open those piggy banks so you can get yourself a copy of ‘New Era’ because as prog metal albums go this one’s a bit good.

Ian Johnson

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