MAD ARCHITECT - JOURNEY TO MADNESS (Supertzar Records)
(Review by Stefan)
Snowy Shaw began its musical career with King Diamond during the late 80s. No doubt about, all the precious duties this Swede delivered to the world of Metal throughout the next 25 years is very impressive ! Born back in 1968 he built up a remarkable list of great bands he played with. All started with King Diamond (1989) as well as other famous acts like Mercyful Fate, Dimmu Birgor, Sabaton, Dream Evil, Therion, Memento Mori among others did appeal to his professional musical skills. Snowy plays drums, guitar, write songs but most remarkable fact to me is that the man has a wonderful voice with high power and far-reaching range.
I never heard of his new project Mad Architect before, although they have released a first EP “Dreamworld” back in 2012. Due to I’m completely unfamiliar with this first Mad Architect release I feel quite ashamed. In a sense, I want to salve my conscience and want to spread the word of their new full length album “Journey To Madness” with a blazing curiosity. I heard in my immediate environment that the CD had a lot to offer and immediately subjected this silver-coloured disc on a few spins to give a personal vision subsequently.
Mixed and mastered by Mr. Andy La Rocque (King Diamond, In Flames, Hammerfall and many, many others !) and released through Swedish label Supertzar Records, it was clear that my friends had told me no lies about the quality of the album. If you're going to listen to all musical details, “Journey To Madness” is a great output featuring nothing but well trained musicians!
Definable as Power Metal with a very dark side, you will also be treated on a concatenation of Heavy/Traditional Metal, Gothic and Progressive elements… I even hear some late 70s Glam Rock slices as well, what do you think about that ! Actually a quite unusual blend of musical styles I honestly feared of in the beginning but while listen to all of the songs these fears proved completely unnecessary. Darker than the dimness of the night, this album sparkles brightly on every front. References to Snowy’s former bands are present throughout the entire album. Snatches from the good old King Diamond era, properties of Therion, vocal characteristics used to know from Dimmu Borgir and regarding the Gothic passages, I would like to call on the band Notre Dame. Conclusion: “Journey To Darkness” has become a multifaceted effort.
The well worked out conjunction of all these genres adds value to this quite unique sounding CD. I’m not a fan of bands like Dimmu Birgir, Therion and definitely everything that has to do with Gothic but still, “Journey To Madness” has been seasoned with corresponded elements and yet, you won’t hear me complain. How come? Well I guess it’s all because of the fact the Power Metal character of the album rules with an iron hand.
As mentioned before, this effort breathes total darkness spread across nine songs. The present keyboards give extra weight to the dark passages, that in combination with the wide range of vocal delivery and awesome guitar duties to let me enjoy of all the glorious moments. Songs I will not soon forget are ‘Mad Architect’ and its King Diamond touch, ‘Sailing Away’ where the old Heavy Metal tradition has met with nowadays Power Metal. More goodies coming your way out with the mighty strong ‘Universal Law’ and bonus track called ‘Altered States’ that’ll make the entire album worthy to crown with a very positive appraisal.
Mad Architect’s “Journey To Madness” became a surprising CD that triggered some kind of a special feeling on my inward soul. Perfectly worked out tracks who may require some adjustments during the first spin but shortly after, you have the intention to re-listen once again, time after time. Broaden you Metal horizons and consider a purchase while checking out their homepage at: www.madarchitectofficial.com
My Points: 87 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish