Tad Morose - "Revenant" (CD)
"Revenant" track listing:
1. Beneath a Veil of Crying Souls
4. Within a Dream
6. Absence of Light
7. Death Embrace
8. Dance of the Damned
9. Spirit World
10. Timeless Dreaming
11. Millenium Lie
Reviewed by CROMCarl on December 18, 2013
Ten years.....ten long years is what it took for Tad Morose to resurface from “Modus Vivendi,” a universally loved piece of metal greatness. Through about five years of that time it was talk of “would Urban ever return”? In 2008, Ronny Hemlin was on board, but still Tad Morose appeared to be mired in an extended hiatus. Mere months ago, the return - appropriately titled “Revenant” - was announced and longtime fans rejoiced.
For the uninformed, questions still remained as to what the band would offer post-Urban Breed. Little realized that 4/5th of Tad Morose now exist in ex-drummer Dan Eriksson’s equally stunning Inmoria (albeit, Hemlin only joined as full time singer after Soren Adamsen’s departure following the release of the band’s second album “A Farewell to Nothing - The Diary, Part I” in 2011, prompting the re-recording of a couple of tracks showcasing him as lead vocalist as opposed to backing vocalist). Though Inmoria is different than Tad Morose, you can see some inklings of what “Revenant” might be like. What it turned out to be is a riff avalanche of phenomenally heavy and catchy tunes, almost exactly what you would expect given the band's past history.
The post-Urban Breed lineup, which also features guitarist Kenneth Jonsson (The Citadel/Torch) who joined in 2012, is highly impressive and continues a long tradition of great Tad Morose releases. For die-hard Urban Breed fans, Hemlin will prove an adequate replacement, while slightly lacking in range by comparison. Though my personal preference leans towards the effortless perfection of Breed, Ronny is no slouch by any stretch. However, there are times he comes across sounding a bit strained (see “Dance of the Damned”), but I attribute this to a difference in style and not a lack of talent or effort.
The star on “Revenant” is Krunt Andersson, who puts on a riff clinic with an overabundance of weighty strums that virtually crush in songs like “Ares,” “Within a Dream” and album favorite “Absence of Light.” Then there are deliciously hastened ones in songs like the opener “Beneath a Veil of Crying Souls” and “Babylon.” The songs are highly enticing, especially choruses in “Babylon,” “Follow,” “Millenium Lie” and the best on the album contained “Within a Dream,” complete with chanting backing vocals.
Production values on “Revenant” are the best I’ve heard from the band in its existence. This is the reason the guitar sound is so much more prominent and much crisper, which only enhances Krunt and Ken’s lethal output. As much as the riffs are dominant, the art of the solo has never been lost on the band and “Revenant” has some winners (check out “Babylon” at 2:04; “Death Embrace” at 2:17; “Millenium Lie” at 2:30).
The burning question is where “Revenant” lands in the band’s catalog. Does it rise to the level of “Modus Vivendi”? To that I say….no, but it’s awfully close. In as much as I find myself listening to “Revenant” over and over and have become a bit infatuated with many of the songs and especially the riffs presented, “Modus Vivendi” still remains the personal crescendo of the band’s career. The combination of “Afraid to Die,” “Anubis,” “Take On the World” and “Unwelcome Guest” are just too hard to completely overcome. “Revenant” was certainly much more than I expected, lived up to my pre-release excitement, and ranks very high in the crowded field of 2013 releases.
Highs: Riffs abound - crunchy, crispy and highly engaging.
Lows: Hemlin's style can sound a bit straining, and as a result is a bit grating.
Bottom line: "Revenent" is a rebirth and continuation of a legendary metal band.
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