I received the digital EPK for Mad Hatter's Den's EP Dark Wheel only this morning, and I like it. I like it a lot. Usually, when I get an EPK, I give it a quick skim and then put it in the queue for review consideration. Not so with Dark Wheel as I've played several times now. This is good stuff!
This band from Tampere, Finland, has the uncanny ability to merge Seventies proto-metal with Eighties NWOBHM; it's like listening to a merger of early Rainbow, complete with Hammond organ, with peak Power Slave Iron Maiden. The EP contains five tracks, all original material, consisting of four studio recordings, one of which is a radio edit of the title track, and one live song, Trail of Fears.
Powerful clean vocals, soaring twin guitars, and an energetic rhythm section drive this band and the songs. And the songs are just terrific, with my favorite being The Dark Wheel, a song that epitomizes that aforementioned blend of classic metal. Sure, the EP is brief, and they should have had one more song (which is the only reason they didn't get a perfect score). But Mad Hatter's Den is on to something very good. Our hope is that they have a truckload of tunes in the works, because they have to cut a full-length album, and soon. Strongly recommended.