Thursday, March 18, 2010


2008 saw the release of Cloudscape’s third album Global Drama. Take a combination of 80’s arena rock, heavy metal drama and elements of progressive bombast while supplying memorable melodies that engage the listener and force you to avoid the eject button on your CD player.

Imagine taking the vocals of 1980’s-90’s YES/Toto and slapping them with a progressive metal hard rock sound. That would give you an idea of what to expect from Swedish Prog metallers Cloudscape. Professional arranging and songwriting is the order of the day on their album Global Drama.

Recently I was given to opportunity to listen to a performance by the group YOSO, featuring members of Yes and Toto. That material is brilliant in its own right. Yet when I came back to Global Drama I couldn’t help but hear the similarities. First and foremost the songs on Global Drama have such delicious melodies that they taste like a fine wine. Compositions aged to perfection with just the right amount of texture and color. Both groups have such high caliber players, yet all of the playing is in deference to the betterment of the song. Both groups also have a rather unique sound that just adds to the mystique and class of both groups.

From the opening song ‘Mind Diary’ to closing melody of ‘Justice,’ Cloudscape leaves you desiring to retake this journey again. So many progressive metal acts get compared to Dream Theater and Symphony X it just gets numbing after awhile. Certainly there are moments where those comparisons might be accurate on this album. I’m uncomfortable with just leaving those comparisons there because Cloudscape at times go into a more melodic almost AOR direction, almost like Allen & Lande.

That more accessible sound also puts them in the company of say, modern Yes or 80’s Asia while bringing metal sounds and performance to the forefront. Both vocalist Mike Andersson and guitarist Bjorn Eliasson wave those influences proudly as they are layered through out Global Drama. They do it effectively and well.

The band themselves describe their music as “Melodic Metal with progressive touches” (Cloudscape MySpace). Their summation would seem to be pretty accurate to me. Just listening to tunes like ‘Alagoas,’ ‘Fragile,’ ‘Static’ stream to a more accessible area musically than say ‘Paid in Blood’ or ‘Mind Diary.’ ‘Alagoas’ is a personal favorite with its melodic chorus, but it really is the build up to that point. Soaring melodies with a hypnotic keyboard tapestry with decorating the landscape with the attack of a melodic guitar arrangement. Yet the aforementioned tracks ‘Mind Diary’ and ‘Paid in Blood’ show that Cloudscape can cut it lose and bring it home when they want to.

Global Drama
is Cloudscapes third release and I would hope a fourth one will arrive soon. This album would fit quite nicely in any progressive metal fans collection, but it should have no trouble finding its way into fans of melodic hard rock/metal. A one trick pony this disc is not. Cloudscape has the chops for the long haul.

7 axes

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