Cloudscape - Crimson Skies
Cloudscape is a Swedish progressive and melodic metal outfit that released their self-titled debut album early 2005. The album received great response over the world and more or less resulted in the opportunity to play at Progpower Europe in Holland in October 2005. It was an impressive debut album that was easy to like because of its melodic approach performed in the best of ways.
Just one and a half year later these melodic progsters are back with another offering and the big question is if they have succeeded to create an album on par with the debut in such short amount of time. Well, at first I didn't think so but this is one of those albums that definitely need a couple of extra listening sessions before you can bring the final judgement. That the band has developed from the debut is quite clear. Instead of the straight forward and catchy melodies we were served earlier Crimson Skies offers melodies that are by far more intricate and not so easily digested. Not that the songs are complex or complicated, it is still melodic progressive metal with focus on the songs rather than an equilibristic show, but the songs need some time grow and fully blossom. The increase of progressive elements has made the songs more dynamic and added depth. On top of that I also have noticed that the atmosphere is a bit darker this time around.
Shapeshifter opens the album in a good way even if the chorus really hasn't reached me just yet. Up next is Shadowland and after a nice intro the well arranged verse arrives with melodies all over the place and I really like the clever and effective chorus. This is an even album but I have found the second half to be more in my liking. It all starts with the absolutely wonderful song Hope which was the only one to click on first listen. It's a majestic composition and one of the more progressive ones. The two choruses knock me out every time I hear them, especially the second one where the vocal melody and guitar melody contrast each other in a splendid way. Hope is followed by Breach In My Sanity and this song has became my personal favourite with fantastic and dark melodies and a stunning rhythm work as its backbone. 1000 Souls is also a huge highlight that inhabits one of the strongest refrains that can be found on the album. This is another track that proves that the band is much more dynamic nowadays due to the tasteful arrangements. We Will Remain closes the album in the best of ways and Mike really shines with his delivery on this one.
The musician ship on Crimson Skies is top-notch. I really like the guitar work from Björn and Patrik and Mike Andersson's vocal performance is once again astonishing. It took some time for me to realise this, but Crimson Skies is another great album from Cloudscape. I still love the debut album that perhaps is stronger in the chorus department but the new one is a bit more varied, intriguing and marked with an own identity. On top of that I must also mention the superb album cover, once again made by Mattias Norén, that matches the atmosphere in a perfect way. Crimson Skies is a proof of strength and if it would have been reduced with a couple of tracks it would have made an even stronger unity. I am impressed, once again
also review of: Global Drama