CLOUDSCAPE – New Era (2012)

CLOUDSCAPE - New Era (2012)


CLOUDSCAPE is a band from Sweden formed in 2001 and after 3 albums and some member shifts, the group hit the studio again for their fourth release “New Era”.

Known for their elaborated Progressive Metal, this time the guys have added some melodic metal and even melodic hard rock touches to their music.

Cloudscape managed to put down a solid sound despite the different genre influences delivering an album that contains a variety of songs making them all catchy in their own way.

New vocalist Mike Andersson does use his clear voice in different ways providing rich textures to each track, while guitars, drums and bass lines are thick, but flexible as well.

What really sets this band from the rest of the Prog Metal crowd are the very clever arrangements which gives to the songs another dimension.

Perhaps starting the disc with “Silver Ending” wasn’t the best choice, as in my opinion is the only weak track here. Not bad, just a plain metalized fare not showing what this band is capable of.

Then suddenly the pieces of their interesting musical puzzle began to come together in “Share Your Energy” followed irresistibly by “Kingdom Of Sand”, both packing melody, class arrangement and confidence in what they were creating. Melodic riffs (with some oriental twist in the latter) playful drumming and some dramatic piano enrich the sound around the colorful vocals. There are welcomed brief moments of studio trickery as well.

By song number four called “Pull The Brake” the anthemic quality and punching rhythm section continue the good work.

“Seen It All Before” starts with some atmosphere before bringing out the guitar riff and a subtle, yet melodic keyboard refrain and then things get a little heavier before the barking vocals of Mike reach out. The song’s pace changes at around the four minute for good effect.

After the frantic paced “Your Desire” with its insistent and furious riffage, arrives an epic called “Voyager 9”. Not to be taken lightly as it clocks in at over eight and a half minutes. Mixing up spacious moments within the soundscape with some crunching heavy riffs in others, this track blend shades of light and dark with an ear for balance.

The innovative and melodic “Before Your Eyes” features some microphone trickery as Mike sings cool melodious lines before the wail of the guitar announces a change of pace.

Following on from the remnants of that song we go into some compressed sounding guitar before it’s unleashed into another potent riff. “Violet Eve” has crash landed, a marching uptempo blast rocker.

“Into The Unknown” has a clear Euro melodic hard rock vibe with a clean sound and a cathy chorus, while ending track “Heroes” is some kind of midtempo prog metal tune with a solid melody and some epic imprinted over it.

In “New Era” Cloudscape blends their distinctive Prog Metal style and other sub-genres with success for the most part.

Guess I do find it very hard to place their sound, but when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter anyway, since it’s the music that counts and their music count for something.

It’s dynamic and varied, based on clever arrangements escaping from the typical cliches of the genre, and all members accomplish a good quality performance on what at times is impressive musicianship.

The first half of the CD is heavier and darker, while the second is much more melodic, even sometimes melodic hard rock oriented, confirming that Cloudscape – as the album title indicates – has something new to come up with.

“New Era” delivers twelve songs plenty of interesting twists and turns to keep you engaged, specially on the more melodious tracks.

01 – Silver Ending

02 – Share Your Energy

03 – Kingdom Of Sand

04 – Pull The Brake

05 – Seen It All Before

06 – Your Desire

07 – Voyager 9

08 – Simplicity…Huh…

09 – Before Your Eyes

10 – Violet Eye

11 – Into The Unknown

12 – Heroes

Mike Andersson : Lead & Backing Vocals

Patrik Svärd : Guitars

Stefan Rosqvist : Guitars, Keyboards

Håkan Nyander : Bass, Backing Vocals

Fredrik Joakimsson : Drums & Percussion


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