Like a lot of Scandinavian metal bands that have come and gone after a release or two, I thought Sweden's Cloudscape had dropped off the face of the planet. Hearing that they were back with a new release in 'Global Drama' got me pretty excited. 2005's 'Crimson Skies' was a great power-prog metal work showing some great creativity and maturity beyond their peers. But then Cloudscape was gone (or so I thought). Vocalist Mike Andersson showed up on 'Planet Alliance' in 2006, a collaboration with noted producer Anders 'Theo' Theander and master guitarist and songwriter Magnus Karlsson. So, in reality, Cloudscape has not disappeared, but rather they have been working on their third full length album, 'Global Drama.' Honestly, it's been worth the wait.
If you loved the power and majesty of 'Crimson Skies,' you will love 'Global Drama.' The musical formula has not changed that much in three years: strong, often intricate, arrangements that mix the best of melodic, power, and progressive metal with Andersson's aggressive, yet clean, vocals, excelling twin guitar work, and a sturdy rhythm section. What is a bit different, or possibly a noticeable progression, is the often heavier riffs found on some songs like 'Mind Diary,' 'Darkest Legacy,' or 'Static.' But even within these songs, Cloudscape will trip you up. 'Static' begins with the heavier riffs and speedier tempo of power metal only to move generous melodic metal with a hugely catchy chorus.
You will find this pleasing conundrum repeated throughout 'Global Drama:' not knowing what is power, melodic or progressive metal. 'Cloak & Daggers' with its eastern sitar or 'One Silent Moment' with it's bagpipes may seem to be excursions into novelty but are better examples of fine progressive metal. The true gem on 'Global Drama' is the epic, and simply beautiful, 'Alagos' which slides easily between melodic metal, prog metal and even progressive rock.
Cloudscape, as a band, and 'Global Drama,' as a representative work, demonstrate again that fine, creative and, most importantly non-deriviative power/progressive metal still exists. 'Global Drama' is quite impressive and equally entertaining. Highly recommended.
Cloudscape, as a band, and 'Global Drama,' as a representative work, demonstrate again that fine, creative and, most importantly non-deriviative power/progressive metal still exists. 'Global Drama' is quite impressive and equally entertaining.
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