Cloudscape - Crimson skies 4.5/5

Reviewed: 5-12-06





Tracklist:

1. Shapeshifter
2. Shadowland
3. And then the rain...
4. Take the blame
5. The last breath
6. Psychic imbalance
7. Hope
8. Breach in my sanity
9. Demon tears
10. 1000 souls
11. Someone else
12. Will we remain


It wasn't too long ago that I reviewed Cloudscape's amazing 's/t' debut, which admittedly took more than just a few spins to grow on me. The band's 2nd CD 'Crimson skies' has clicked immediately however, perhaps because I'm used to the bands sound now, as the debut is still a part of my regular listening rotation. Plus, their sound hasn't changed at all from the debut and they've maintained the great balance of melodic metal with the perfect amount of progressive metal and power metal incorporated. They remain comparable to Last Tribe or a slightly less speedy Masterplan, Voice and At Vance, with influences from some of the more progressive bands like Pagan's Mind and Anubis Gate. I still hear Conception (and maybe a little Kamelot) in their sound too though, and anyone who is fan of any of these bands should find Cloudscape's CDs to be the next high level additions to their collection.

As far as the quality of 'Crimson skies', I'm pleased to tell you that this is just as fantastic as their 's/t' debut and possibly even a little better! While the debut has a few songs I don't really care for ("Dawn of fury" and "Slave" mainly), 'Crimson skies' is outstanding from start to finish and there is not one song I don't like. My favorite songs from the band ("Under fire" and "In these walls") exist on debut though, and this is why I have handed out the same rating for both CDs. The debut fluxuates a little and evens out at a 4.5 for me, while 'Crimson skies' is consistently at this very high level. I see this as an improvement.

Besides succeeding at matching (slightly surpassing) the quality of the debut, a number of things have really impressed me with 'Crimson skies'. For one, Bjorn and Patrik once again team up and provide us with many catchy riffs, sweet guitar solos and varying tempos that make for a CD that's quite enjoyable and easy to listen to. Also, while the keys are an important part of the band's sound, they take a backseat to the powerful guitars in the same manner as their debut. Next, the production is awesome! An aspect that greatly helps propel the CD to its high level. Finally, Mike really sings with a lot of confidence and emotion (maybe more so than with the debut), like he's in the perfect place and never wants to leave.

I know bands are curious of what their fans' favorite songs are, so here are mine; the catchy track 2 "Shadowland", the pleasant track 3 "And then the rain...", track 7 "Hope" with its soaring and beautiful chorus, and track 11 "Someone else" is surely a highlight as well. But my top favorite's are track 6 "Psychic imbalance" with its killer hooks and track 10 "1000 souls" is absolutely superb in every way. Fans of the debut should really dig this. For those who are going to head off and grab the band's CDs after reading this review (hopefully many!!), know that they may take more spins to get into than is usually the case. I'm not sure why, as they sit nicely in the style of the earlier mentioned bands, but this has been the experience with me and I've heard the same thing from others. Regardless, this is an excellent CD and I hope the band brings us many more.



CLINT




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