Words: Craig Hartranft
Okay. So Mad Architect is back, the studio project of guitarist and composer Magnus Daun and vocalist and drummer Snowy Shaw. Similarities to past work remain, namely their dark melodic power metal, with it's share of equally dark, creepy, and mystical themes. So here we go again.
There's many reasons to tune into Mad Architect. At the very least, two. One is simply their aforementioned approach to heavy metal. Between the guitar riffs and moody synths, even with some symphonic notions, the Mad Architect metal has both an equivalent sound and feeling: gothic like a dark castle on a gloomy, rainy night. Yet it's not so foreboding as Daun and Shaw fill much of their metal with plenty of basic rock groove, melody and harmony. Chronological Disorder and Echoes In Eternity are just two examples.
Adding to this, and a second reason to consider Mad Architect, is Snowy Shaw's versatile vocal style. While always melodic, he growls, groans, screams, and generally creeps his way through every song. Actually, you'll hear different styles, layered, within most any song. But, when I say versatile, I'm not implying that's a good or viable thing. Snow's approach is still any acquired taste, especially when you have to deal with his annoying, and largely poor, attempt at death vocals as within The Evil One Whose Name We Dare Not Speak. Yet he still adds another dimension of gothic tone to Mad Architect's sound. Eventually, in the end, Mad Architect reminds me of some variation of Scandinavian cousins HIM. That's not a bad thing, especially if you like the genre.
My largest difficulty with the genre and Mad Architect, more specifically, is that they can tend to concentrate to much getting that goth metal "sound" right at the expense of one of the sin qua nons of heavy metal, the ripping guitar solo. You really need to listen for them within Hang High. Mostly, though, for me it still comes down to Snow's vocals. Even if he makes his death/dirty vocals sound harmonious, sometimes nearly effeminate in a creepy sort of way at times, it just doesn't appeal to me. But you may feel differently. If you liked the last album, you will definitely enjoy this one.
Mad Architect, featuring Magnus Daun and Snowy Shaw, return with their dark and gothic melodic power metal with it's share of equally dark, creepy, and mystical themes.
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