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Cloudscape - "New Era" (CD)

Cloudscape - "New Era" CD cover image

"New Era" track listing:

1. Silver Ending (5:30)
2. Share Your Energy (3:48)
3. Kingdom Of Sand (3:47)
4. Pull The Brake (4:35)
5. Seen It All Before (6:40)
6. Your Desire (5:41)
7. Voyager 9 (8:37)
8. Simplicity…Huh… (3:44)
9. Before Your Eyes (5:41)
10. Violet Eye (5:05)
11. Into The Unknown (4:55)
12. Heroes (4:30)

Reviewed by on September 2, 2012

"The long wait has produced a 'New Era'....an album that pours more positive energy than Stryper pissing heavenly golden showers on Watain."

I know many listeners find it a treat to get all caught up in the instrument wanking that a lot of progressive metal presents. Musician fans gleefully lap at the supple nipple of progression, finding it not only challenging to play but awe inspiring to listen to. While I find that most progressive metal is technically perfect and quite impressive, I find that its best served as either comfort in times of high anxiety or as an alternative to Lunesta. This is by no means an insult! However, there is a version that quenches my thirst for technical prowess with a little more weight and Cloudscape is the perfect fit. Having waited for what seems like a century since the release of the highly touted “Global Drama” and the even more distant personal favorite “Crimson Skies,” the time is now for the high fliers from Helsingborg to return. The long wait has produced a “New Era”....an album that pours more positive energy than Stryper pissing heavenly golden showers on Watain.

There is no better way to sum up all this pizzazz than with the song “Share You Energy,” with its grinding guitar and Marillion-esque synths that come close to the realm of Threshold (another personal favorite), with a tiny wisp of death vocals thrown in the mix. Pure energy is more like it. There is something to be said for super charged positive progressive rock/metal! “Kingdom of Sand” has a Myrath type start before Håkan Nyander’s stunning bass line opens the song up like a gash to the gut. The honed blade of the guitars kick in with a power slap courtesy of Patrik Svärd and Stefan Rosqvist (FullForce/Dawn of Oblivion) and before you know it you are wrapped up in the ultra infectious and hard rockin’ chorus. The song showcases the brilliant solo work over a bed of “Hey....hey...hey” gang choruses led by the silky smooth and squeaky clean vocals of Michael Andersson (FullForce).

The gang of “hey...hey...hey,” makes its return onto the riveting “Seen it All Before.” Now before the song title sucks you into believing you might have with Cloudscape, check out the album’s best track “Your Desire” - a power metal charged progressive uppercut where Andersson turns from silky smooth to all gritty Russell Allen like. The riffs are relentless until the chorus opens up the melody and showers the listener with more of that positive energy, juxtaposed to the final appearance of the “hey” chant in the form of a verbal beating on the song’s latter half.

“Voyager 9" is a myriad of progressive diction. Heavy at its core, it casts a vast atmospheric net covering from Genesis to Journey across its eight minute adventure. Then “Right Before You Eyes” commences African influenced chanting enveloped by a blasting riff further swallowed by brazen synths. It is such an ode to old Genesis that I swear a young Peter Gabriel can be heard somewhere in that “I....I....I....I....I.” The pinnacle of Cloudscape’s progressiveness can be heard on “Heroes,” and I can comfortably predict that most of the prog-heads will count this among their favorites.

Is it progressive enough? Absolutely. Are there dancing fingers of self-gratification along the shafts of Schecter C1 Hellraisers? To the extent that it stays comfortably in the zone of steady eye-popping melodic rock and power/progressive...hell yes. Does it keep you awake? Not a drop of coffee required from start to finish. “New Era” is a hurricane of positive air blasting across my wretched soul. It may not be Cloudscape's greatest achievement, but "New Era" was worth the wait.

Highs: Super charged positive progressive with a power punch.

Lows: This might by a little too positive for negatrons.

Bottom line: Cloudscape Forms A "New Era" Hurricane Of Positive Wind Across A Negative World.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)