Cloudscape – Global Drama (2008, Roasting House/Golden Core/Nightmare Records)
- Mind Diary
- Darkest Legacy
- Cloak & Daggers
- Paid In Blood
- The Silence Within
- One Silent Moment
- Eyes Of Jealousy
- Ritual Of The Blade
Mike Andersson – Lead Vocals & Keyboards
Björn Eliasson – Guitars & Keyboards
Patrick Svärd – Guitars
Haynes Pherson – Bass & Backing Vocals
Roger Landin – Drums & Percussion
Casper Andersen – Bagpipes (on ‘One Silent Moment’)
Producer: Pontus Lindmark
Total Time = 1:07:06
Sweden’s Cloudscape has been on many a Progressive Metal fan’s radar since their self-titled debut in 2005 and sophomore release CRIMSON SKIES in 2006. The band blends Progressive Metal and Power Metal effortlessly with a keen sense of melody and rhythm. The band has all the elements of solid musicianship: an excellent singer, duelling twin lead guitars, complimentary keyboards and a pounding rhythm section. GLOBAL DRAMA was released in August and, on first listen, I immeadiately compared Cloudscape to Balance Of Power, Kamelot, Pagan’s Mind and Symphony X…..not bad company to keep!
Opening track ‘Mind Diary’ is a powerful monster of Power Metal riffing, a driving rhythm section and soaring melodic vocals from Mike Andersson. The keyboards swirl and enhance the overall sound to create a symphonic element as the song changes pace. One listen to ‘Mind Diary’ and I immeadiately drew a comparision to Balanace Of Power and knew that they rest of the album was going to be excellent. A simple keyboard introduction opens the heavy ‘Darkest Legacy’ that showcases some serious double bass drumming from Roger Landin amid the chugging guitars. Cloudscape has serious chops and they start to stretch their Metal muscles as they weave through a variety of styles.
‘Cloak & Daggers’ is another melodic prog feast that incorporates an exotic Middle Eastern sound with more prominent keyboards. The sound is very big and grand with a lot of layers, you have to listen very closely to hear the subtle touches the band has employed with the keyboards, percussion, acoustic guitar and what I believe is a sitar. ‘Cloak & Daggers’ also has my favorite performance from Mike Andersson, he shows complete range vocally and is able to move from a powerful delivery to a soft one with ease.
‘Cloak & Daggers’
‘Paid In Blood’ starts out very heavy but becomes more melodic as the song progresses. The chorus is catchy and I found myself singing along by the middle of the song. An immeadiate comparison to Balance Of Power and Kamelot is heard on ‘The Silence Within’. The guitars sound like something from Balance Of Power’s BOOK OF SECRETS (1998) and the vocals remind me of Kamelot’s Roy Khan. ‘The Silence Within’ starts out with haunting keyboards and moves into the main riff to set up a strong base for the melodic vocal delivery. You can tell the mark of a good song if you are singing along, doing your best air guitar, and banging your head back and forth…..that’s me on ‘The Silence Within’! Cloudscape brings in another international element to their music with the opening bagpipes on ‘One Silent Moment’, a mid-tempo song that builds into the chorus and starts to pick up more and more as the song progresses. The song actually starts out almost like a ballad and just continues until halfway where the keyboard has a quick spotlight solo. There are also some really cool bass lines that are more prominent in the mix.
‘Alagoas’ is one of two epic songs on GLOBAL DRAMA and it cocks in at just over 8 minutes. The song is mostly mid-tempo but builds up towards the melodic chorus. Halfway through the song everything slows down completely for an eerie New Age feel and moves into the solo section. The vocals are perfect and the guitar/keyboard combination compliment each other extremely well. Vocals are melodic, soaring, powerful and full of range, Mike Andersson is fast becoming one of my new favorite vocalists! ‘Static’ has a programmed feel to it with the opening keyboard tones but it immeadiately moves into chugging Power Metal riffing and the keys move more to the background. This song makes me think of Kamelot around the KARMA (2001) and EPICA (2003) era but with more crunch to the guitars. The opening piano of ‘Fragile’ is a perfect introduction for a song that is the closest thing to a ballad that you are going to get from Cloudscape. It’s a sweeping mid-tempo song that is near perfect in it’s diverse harmonies and instrumentation to create something beautiful. There are some melodic elements that makes me hear a bit of Angra from around the FIREWORKS album but not as speedy, more controlled.
The second epic on GLOBAL DRAMA is the 9 minute opus ‘Eyes Of Jealousy’. The song is pure Prog Metal that recalls Dream Theater in some spots but retains the overall melodic sense that is a mainstay of the enitre record. ‘Eyes Of Jealousy’ is different from it’s epic twin ‘Alagoas’ in that it follows the Progressive path more closely and incorporates more time changes and a varied musical landscape. ‘Ritual Of The Blade’ opens with an exotic Oriental/Middle Eastern keyboard intro and builds into a guitar/drum driven track with the exotic keyboard passage supplementing the song thoughout. The solos here are very good and the double bass pounding drives the song. Album closer ‘Justice’ reminds me of the album’s opener ‘Mind Diary’ with it’s straight forward Power Metal drive and soaring vocals, a smart way to bookend the album.
Cloudscape has been on my Metal radar for a couple of years but I never really had the chance to acquire their first two records, listening to GLOBAL DRAMA has changed that mistake! If you want to hear really good Progressive Metal that is hard, melodic and technically sound then GLOBAL DRAMA is the album to buy. The production is well done without sounding over-processed, the musicianship is top notch and Mike Andersson has become one of my favorite vocalists. I got this album back in early August just before the release date and I have kept this in my weekly rotation ever since. I can’t find a weak song on the album. My recommendation is that everyone should check out GLOBAL DRAMA, it’s one of the best albums I’ve heard this year.
Favorite Songs: ‘The Silence Within’, ‘Fragile’, ‘Cloak & Daggers’, ‘Alagoas’. I wanted to showcase a few songs but the truth is that there isn’t a bad song on GLOBAL DRAMA and I like each one!