The genre of power metal is a vast ocean with many different schools of fish. You have the Helloween clones. Then there are the Stratovarius rip-offs. With Dragonforce's popularity on the rise, it won't be much longer until the have their own knock-offs. However, the ocean is so large that you'll also find a variety of rare and exotic fish. Again, power metal draws comparisons. This is where Swedish band, Tad Morose
, comes in.
In a genre filled with copycats, pretenders, and very few innovators, Tad Morose stands out among the masses. Unlike a lot of stale acts, Tad Morose brings a fresh approach in their brand of power metal, and I find it odd that they aren't better known. Rather than play 16th notes at frets 15-20 at 300 BPM, Tad Morose plays at a more mid-paced speed, with emphasis on riffs. Their 2003 album, Modus Vivendi
, showcases their talents very well, and IMO, is a forgotten classic.
One of the most powerful aspects of Modus Vivendi is Urban Breed's vocals. Urban Breed is one of the most talented vocalists in power metal, and puts forth a great deal of effort in Modus Vivendi. He sings with the right amount of emotion and strength which is very effective in upgrading the band's sound. With his superb singing style, a style that isn't as high as singers such as Michael Kiske or ZP Theart, Urban can take weaker sounding song and make it into one of the albums more enjoyable songs. A perfect example of this is on Take on the World
. While the song is good, it pales in comparison to the rest of the album. This is where Urban comes in. His vocal style fits the band well, and propels the song to a more respectable level. Urban Breed's vocals are also very consistent, and are solid throughout the album.
What else makes Modus Vivendi, of all albums, a power metal classic? You could make a strong case for the album's riffs. Crafted to utmost quality, Modus Vivendi's riffs are another one of my favourite parts of the album. Well thought out, they combine heaviness and melody, an excellent combination and a big part of the band's sound. Tad Morose uses this to their advantage, often starting off with a crushing riff to set an aggressive atmosphere right from the get go. The ensuing riff-fest that follows the many pounding intros found on this cd are very enjoyable to listen to. Another thing that separates Modus Vivendi from other power metal records is the soloing. Rather than employing a generic (but at the same time impressive) shred-fest, Tad Morose's guitarists take their time with their solos, which yields fantastic results. The solos are a tad (pun intended lawlz) bit slower, but what they lack in speed they make up for in emotion. As with vocals, the riffs are another area where Tad Morose shines, and they shine often. Riffwise, the highlights of Modus Vivendi would be Mother Shipton's Words
and Clearly Insane
A vital part of the band's sound is the catchiness. Each song on Modus Vivendi is extremely catchy in its own way. Be it Urban Breed's vocal lines, the riffs, solos, or even the drumming, Modus Vivendi's tracks are very memorable, and will be stuck in your head for days at a time. The overall catchiness of the music does not result in a more commercial sounding release, but rather adds to the album's sound.
There are very few things I didn't like about this release. The band executed a fantastic brand of take no prisoners-styled power metal and do not let up at all for 47 minutes. However, I'd like to see the band try to take a stab at a ballad. The closest we get is Cyberdome
, which has a few characteristics of a ballad. With Urban Breed's unique singing style, I have no doubt that the band would be able to pull it off. I would have also liked to see the band try to pen out a more metallic sounding epic to go with the slightly softer sounding Life in a Lonely Grave
as the album mainly consists of shorter, 4-5 minute long tracks. Tad Morose certainly has the songwriting skills to make this possible, and a longer song would definitely be a real treat to hear.
But as it is, Tad Morose's Modus Vivendi is a classic power metal album. It's a refreshing escape from the more symphonic, fantasy orientated side of power metal and is a load of fun to listen to. I would definitely recommend this album to any metal fan, whether you enjoy power metal or not.
(You couldn't go wrong with any of them, but for the stake of having a list):
Mother Shipton's Words