These awesome Swedish metallers provide us once again a well-balanced fusion of progressiveness, feeling, professionalism and an endless amount of our most beloved element, Heavy Metal.
Just like their Scandinavian friends from Norway and Finland, it looks like it’s absolutely impossible to find a bad metal group from Sweden either. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most nefarious form of Black Metal or the most endearing and joyful Hard Rock you can think of, the quality of the music always goes beyond the boundaries of awesomeness. Thus, this is also the case in the high-octane Voice of Reason, the fifth studio album by Melodic Progressive Metal quintet Cloudscape, a band tailored for fans of icons like Dream Theater, Evergrey, Iron Maiden and Yngwie Malmsteen, among others.
Formed in 2001 in Helsingborg, Sweden, Cloudscape have already paved a solid path through the years, showcasing all their superior skills with each and every release and embellishing venues and festivals all over the world with their passion for metal. Now with Voice of Reason, which songwriting started back in 2013 and features another excellent artwork created by Mattias Norén from ProgArt Media (who has already worked with bands such as Kamelot, Evergrey and Sabaton), the band aims at entering new unexplored territories without losing their core essence, flirting with the sonority of their earlier albums. Well, let’s say that they reached their goal in a faultless manner.
The opening track A New Design already blends their classic sounding with modern metal music, with the vocals by Mike Andersson offering the listener melodic lines and hard-hitting aggression at the same time. In addition, its exciting chorus adds a more-than-welcome kick to this solid tune, turning it into one of the top moments of the album. Then, with an Iron Maiden-ish aura and hints of Hard Rock and Alternative Metal, we have the fresh and vibrant chant Futuristic Phsyco, where guitarists Patrik Svärd and Stefan Rosqvist, together with bassist Håkan Nyander, give a lesson in Progressive Metal with their unstoppable stringed weapons; followed by Don’t Close Your Eyes, another powerful song where its gentle but captivating keyboards shine amidst its heavy guitar riffs, not to mention its backing vocals doing a superb job supporting Mike’s performance.
As its name already says, All For Metal is pure classic Heavy Metal, with its riffs and drums transpiring electricity. Not only this is by far my favorite song of the album, but I simply love when a band pays that type of “tribute” to their roots and heroes without sounding cheesy. Moreover, it’s easy to visualize how incredible this tune might sound live with the crowd singing it together with the band. However, it’s time to slow things down a bit and get as progressive as possible in the 11-minute title-track Voice Of Reason, with the ambience getting stronger due to its keyboards and the heartwarming vocals by Mike, while drummer Fredrik Joakimsson makes sure the rhythm changes all the time avoiding any sort of staleness.
Thunders Of Extreme will please most fans of Scandinavian metal due to its classic guitar lines and uplifting lyrics, which combined will surely make you feel good while listening to it. Furthermore, this superb tune proves this band definitely knows how to craft catchy choruses, enhancing the impact of their already well-engendered compositions even more. Needle In The Eye is perhaps the most modern of all songs, as you can sense nuances of Alternative Metal thoroughly added to their powerful progressiveness, before the second-longest track of the album, In Silence We Scream, concludes the album majestically. Although it begins in a nice acoustic way with highlights to its emotional lyrics beautifully declaimed by Mike, it’s when the other instruments hit the music (consequently making it much heavier and denser) that things get a lot more ravishing and epic.
Tom sum up, those Swedish metallers were spot on with their comments about how Voice of Reason was going to sound like, providing the listener a well-balanced fusion of progressiveness, feeling, professionalism and an endless amount of our most beloved element, Heavy Metal. You can reach Cloudscape at their official Facebook page and YouTube channel, and get your copy of the album on iTunes, Amazon and several other locations. As you might have noticed already, Voice of Reason is what we can call the perfect album to start the year with a true metallic bang.
Best moments of the album: A New Design, All For Metal and Thunders Of Extreme.
Worst moments of the album: Needle In The Eye.
Released in 2016 Dead End Exit Records
1. A New Design 5:43
2. Futuristic Phsyco 3:33
3. Don’t Close Your Eyes 4:45
4. All For Metal 5:25
5. Voice Of Reason 11:55
6. Thunders Of Extreme 4:23
7. Needle In The Eye 5:08
8. In Silence We Scream 9:30
Mike Andersson – vocals, keyboards
Patrik Svärd – guitar
Stefan Rosqvist – guitar
Håkan Nyander – bass
Fredrik Joakimsson – drums, backing vocals, keyboards