Tad Morose - Revenant

Tad Morose Revenant cover
Tad Morose
Despotz Records
Tad Morose are a much beloved band, that this year celebrate 20 years of existence, even with a long hiatus (at least recording wise) between their last album and their current one – actually an entire decade, believe it or believe it not! The band has seem many capable vocalists (Andren, Urban Breed, Comeau and now their new one Ronny Hemlin from Steel Attack) passing through its ranks and has changed from a doomy slow, melodic metal band to a powerful, crushing yet still very melodic “beast”, (with slight prog tendencies) always maintaining a high quality in their compositions.
So how does “Revenant” compare to the bands catalogue well at least to “Modus Vivendi” to which it comes as a belated successor some ten years later? It’s heavy, probably a little heavier and probably a little more intense and that’s surprising!! I mean I thought that Urban was one of the cooler metal vocalists in that “style” – obviously – before listening to “Outworld” and installing Kelly Sundown Carpenter to the top of the “Mission :Impossible” vocalists ever, for his inhuman performances on that album, but Mr Hemlin, seems to be giving a very solid, metallic and passionate performance on this album that fits very well with the songs and the rest of the bands performances.
On opener “Beneath a Veil of Crying Souls” I had a) to check my pulse and b) look at the credits to make sure that Ripper wasn’t doing any guest vocals. Awesome prog power metal, with glorious but also very intelligent melodies, that are carefully spiced with some eastern influences and marinated in a boiling cauldron of heaviness...
“Follow” drops the pace ever so slightly initially but then seems to regain its pace and balances itself between a nice “longing” melody and a more sinister verse, the solo, rip like centipedes with the vocals effecting just the same… ahh... Tad Morose, have managed to always maintain quality. No matter what their line-up was, no matter how long it took them, they never allowed something “less than stellar” to leave their camp… which for me deserves at the very least a tip of the hat (that I’m not wearing, but I am very much willing to go and get one right now!)…
“Babylon” is at the very least – Biblical in proportions, with a big a-bridged chorus, and impressive orchestrations going on... It’s also DARKER and even HEAVIER, and we get that “Ripper” effect, but the thicker mixed chest voice type of vocal, with that sinister phonation, that's just perfect...
I have to be honest when I’m going to say that I was a little carried away into “Within a Dream” as one of its introductory riffs is not too dissimilar to one of the slower sections that can be found towards the end of “Babylon”, but the change of “tempo” and melody did alert me and woke me to the fact that it was indeed a totally new track (I also had auto fading crossmix 10sec turned on by mistake, don’t hit me). It’s a slow, but alluring track with this massive eastern melody and a cool chorus and the verses antagonizing it, smartly, it’s actually quite progressive... in a way that’s very musical and not, tiresome... and “plainly showing off”.
“Ares” referring to the Ancient Greek God of War, is menacing and destructive and sounds like the perfect mix between slowed down Iced Earth and Judas Priest. If something is “Crushing” THIS IS IT! ARES GOD OF ANGER! Oh yeah, this song alone could scatter the “Ashes of Ares”, to the Four Winds…. bye bye…
“Absence of Light” is not too fast, but it’s percussion, is interestingly high in the mix, initially, generating a very “tribal” atmosphere, which then is muted and blackened, as if some sort of a ritual is going on... or some shit is “really wrong”… it’s nice how the music follows the mood of the story… dark as hell itself really!
And onwards with the hippy inspired themes we‘ve got “Death Embrace”! Another uplifting song about being touched by the grim reaper and saying goodbye to life and kissing your ass goodbye. It’s suitably theatrical, with sharp riffing and fast solos and furious, loud drums. It’s actually quite “retro” when compared, with most of the songs preceding it. It has a certain “feel” that for some reason makes me feel like it must have been written somewhat earlier than the main body of this material?! I might be wrong… of course… but it’s just a hunch…!
Believe it or believe it not “Dance of the Damned” begins with a not so, gloomy melody, on guitars, but it soon, decays to a deadly stomp, for the dead to dance along to... again, it has this more “retro” feel, that’s half King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, without the falsettos, and all those endless twin solos, but has a similar “feel”, mood & riffola and RH does his own thing that well, happens to be very much like “Rippers” thing, which no-one’s going to complain about, of course! I actually think that these two songs maybe came up and the band decided to do them in this “slightly different style” on purpose.
“Spirit World” actually sees a return of the thicker more modern flashier sound, starting almost as a ballad but then erupting into a very dramatic and forceful track, making it another highlight in an album that’s really SOLID METAL!
Timeless Dreaming” shows little intention of slowing down the pace, but it’s gang backing vocals are not exactly a “strike of genius”! It’s a slightly weaker moment, but if that’s a weak moment, I guess, in some other band this could be considered a lead single!
“Millennium Lie” is slower and more melodic, but other than it’s chorus, it again seems to sound a little “tired” yet again, it’s by no means a filler, just a slightly lesser song after such a barrage of much better ones. The whole, repetitive chorus, doesn’t help it either.
Finally “Gypsy” ain't an Uriah Heep cover, as I was half-expecting, nor a Dio, Sabbath or Mercyful Fate one, but a cool ass haunting mid-tempo original, that closes the album on a middle note (well it could not be a very high one now, how could it J LOL) leaving the best impressions!
WOW, just WOW! “Revenant” is one of those albums that can restore you faith in metal... “too bad”, that it comes from a band that was founded in 1990 and its musicians have been active in bands even before that, but who gives a damn! “Revenant”, will simply KICK YOUR ASS, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (and probably back again)! What are you waiting for, go out and buy it! NOW!