Matters of the Dark (8,3/10)

This review can be found here:


Swedish power metal with a cuttingly modern edge. Sound enticing? Well, read on and endure as I try and do this quintet justice by dissecting their newest release. Now we all know that the water over in Sweden is spiked with some unknown ingredient that brings out the best in their musicians. This is a given. What we don't know is when this seemingly endless barrage of quality music will expire. At this point I'm not sure that is even possible. With bands like In Flames, Soilwork and Arch Enemy leading the "Army Of Death", Tad Morose has got to be one of the "Generals of Power". I'll honestly admit, as I always have, that I hadn't heard anything from this band up until now. And being they came upon the metal scene in 1993, I wasn't really into power metal too much any longer as I was experiencing the more extreme side of things. The fact that I have stayed in tune with the traditional metal bands who rest on the upper tier of this sub-genre has left me readily willing to ingest bands of this nature. As has already been noted, this band stepped forward to stake their claim about 9 years ago, and what's impressive is that Matters Of The Dark is their seventh release during this 9 year period. The album starts out with a meaty riff that caught my attention immediately. I really didn't know what to expect at first as I was admittedly unfamiliar with these guys, so when the music began I was instantly pleased. When the melodically clean vocal assault forced its way through the car system I was a bit skeptical. My initial reaction was to just toss these guys aside as just another band that can't let that traditional sound of the 80's go. After repeated listening I realized there was much more to this release than what my death-metal-addicted mind wanted to allow. The songs are well constructed and extremely hooky. I listened to this album last night with the help of my headphones and when I woke up this morning I couldn't help but find the first track creeping through my half-dazed mind. This stuff is that catchy. What some may call cheese, I call well thought up songs with overlaying vocal melodies that are neither overwhelming nor overpowering to the other instruments involved. Although the material on this release is original from a copyright sense, you have to give props to the influences heard hear. When I listen I hear a strong Geoff Tate influence mixed with Tim Aymar in the vocal department, and there is no way I can not listen to this album and not think of the Tate-fronted Queensryche. Neither the combination of Mr. Tate and Queensryche nor the job Mr. Aymar provided on Evil Chuck's Control Denied release is a discouraging comparison, and sometimes it's not fair to the artist to give examples of comparisons in our reviews, but the reality of it is this is exactly who comes to mind upon each listen. Not a bad thing at all. Not all of the songs are keepers here, but the good ones by far outweigh the fillers. The playing from all angles is tight and the riffing has got a groove to it from time to time that provides the listener with a taste of the old-school mixed with that of modern death at times. However, for the most part Tad Morose keeps the formula simple with their effective catchiness. This album is far and beyond one of the best power metal albums I've heard in a few years, and as much as I was psyched to hear Iced Earth's 2001 release Horror Show, I'd have to choose Matters Of The Dark over the "Schafer Show" 10 times out of 10. C'mon, how can you go wrong with any brand of Swedish metal? Favorite Tracks: Sword Of Retribution, Ethereal Soul and Riding The Beast


(Jon Eardley, April 2002) (98/100)

This review can be found here:


Tad Morose are clawing and tearing their way into the front row of the power metal cohorts. This album picks up right where "Undead" left off: with one rocking piece after another. Urban Breed is truly about to earn a spot among the vocal elite of metal, his voice sounds like a cross between x-Savatage's Stevens, x-CG's Midnight, and x-Malmsteen's Vescera. The music is the same dark power metal as on "Undead," but it's faster: two songs, title track and "Another Way," are straight ahead speed metal masterpieces. Solid musicianship, good production from the guys themselves (although the drums could have been produced a notch better), excellent choruses. Speaking of choruses, one of the most dominant vocalists of the 90s, Charles Rytkonen of (Morgana) Lefay appears on two tracks: title track and "Reason For The Ghost," and he makes me miss Lefay like nothing else. What makes this album great are the magnificent melodies on virtually every song. "Sword of Retribution," "Ethereal Soul," "I Know Your Name," "New Clear Skies," "Riding The Beast," and "Reason For The Ghost" are all excellent songs, with lethal hooks. I must specifically mention mid-tempo "Ethereal Soul" and "In The Shadows," the catchiness here is simply unbelievable. Tad Morose (and Urban Breed specifically) has mastered the art of writing terrific choruses with absolutely killer melodies. Album's highest point is "Another Way," a great, fast, anti-Nazi anthem (at least that's how I read it). This is how a speed metal song should be played: fast and catchy verse, fast and catchy pre-chorus, fast and catchy chorus. The material is strong for the entire duration of the album, this is metal of highest quality. Oh, I must also mention that several songs feature top-notch guitar solos. In a word, this is perfect dark power metal. One question I have is: why does the track "New Clear Skies," chosen by Century Media for promotion on compilations, is the ONLY song in the booklet without the lyrics? Bad marketing, guys! Now, after two years of having this album, I have no choice but assign it the highest rating. The staying power and the tremendous songwriting skills earned it this honor. Every song is memorable, and it just doesn't get any better than this.


(ThySentinel, August 2004)