|Review: Cloudscape - Cloudscape|
Label: Metal/AOR Heaven
Year released: 2004
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: June 25, 2008
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 3.8/5 (76%) (10 Votes)
Yet another quality album to fall by the generic wayside, the debut from these provocative Swedes remains a regular player on my stereo, thanks to a glut of punchy, catchy, invigorating melodic Prog/Power Metal anthems, proficient but not self-indulgent musicianship, and a genuine high standard of implementation that dwarfs many of their better known contemporaries. Driven by the powerful, soaring clear vocals of main man Micael Andersson, Cloudscape's unsoiled recitation of the European Metal fundamentals recalls the mighty Elegy on a number of occasions, with plenty of Royal Hunt, Silent Force and perhaps most recognizably, countrymen Morifade. Things are pretty varied in terms of pace and composition, with tracks like symphonic belter "As the Light Leads the Way" and the catchier-than-head-lice "Dawn of Fury" pushing the Power Metal influence to the fore, while others such as the placated "Witching Hour" and the hopeful "Everyday Is Up To You" playing on the band's progressive aspirations, resembling a more ambitious Twilightning in their use of the crystalline guitar/keyboard sparring match.
Andersson's vocals rarely escape the wailing he executes so well, but his vocal passages are nothing but sublime, with every chorus being instantly memorable and pleasing to the ear — just check out the fabulous "Under Fire" for an exemplar illustration. An Anders 'Theo' Theander pro-tool workout ensures a dazzlingly clear sound, making Cloudscape's debut record a must have for the CD rack, especially if you thought Power Metal had forgotten how to be expansive and wide-ranging. Recommended.
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