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HEIR TO MADNESS - The Citadel cover
3.55 | 3 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2008


1. Citadel of Self (05:57)
2. Bliss (06:31)
3. Wondrous Wrath (08:17)
4. Manhole (07:35)
5. Arbiter of Somnolence (07:09)
6. Last Line of Defense (07:13)
7. Siamese Suicide (06:21)
8. To the Fairest (03:11)


- Jason Wiscarson / all instruments, programming, vocals

About this release

Copyright Jason L Wiscarson
01 September 2008

Available as "name your price" download on http://heirtomadness.com

Thanks to bartosso for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"The Citadel" is the debut full-length studio album by US progressive rock/metal act Heir to Madness. The album was released in September 2008 and is available for a "Name Your Price" option on the band´s official site. Heir to Madness is a one-man project consisting of Jason Wiscarson who handles all instruments/programming and sings all vocals.

Stylistically the music on "The Citadel" is an alternative type of progressive rock/metal and especially an act like A Perfect Circle comes to mind. Heir to Madness uses some of the same dynamics with subdued melancholic vocals and louder more epic sounding sections. The playing is decent and it´s obvious that Jason Wiscarson is a pretty skilled musician. His singing could be improved upon though. He hits the notes alright and even add some nice harmony vocals too, but he often sounds a bit shy and I miss a bit more bite and conviction in the delivery. His vocals are often placed a bit low in the mix which doesn´t help either.

And regarding the sound production it´s actually relatively well sounding considering that this is a one-man project, and that the album was probably recorded on a home computer, but it´s not a fully professional production. That is especially heard in the way the clean guitars are produced. They sound a bit like the guitar is just plugged directly into the amp and then recorded. It´s not a huge issue, but it does provide the album with a slightly amaturish touch.

The material are relatively adventurous and well written, although the vocal lines could have been more memorable. In fact "The Citadel" is not an album that sticks much after it is over, but it´s pretty enjoyable while it plays, so it´s not like my attention wanders or anything like that, but a few more hooks and more focus on memorability would have made "The Citadel" a stronger release.

The album is overall both a good and a bad example of one-man recordings done on home computers. On the positive side Jason Wiscarson has been allowed to let his creativity flow fee without outside influences, and that has made for an adventurous and compositionally quite intriguing release. On the negative side of things, it also means that the sound production is slightly amaturish (in the good end of amaturish though), and that the tracks haven´t been listened to by a professional producer, who would probably have cut some of the fat, and who would have brought more focus on the strong elements in the music. As it is a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.
Heir to Maynardness

Now, the title is not any kind of mockery. The vocalist and only member of Heir to Madness, Jason Wiscarson, really sounds much like Maynard J. Keenan(Tool, A Perfect Circle) and it can only be considered as an advantage in my book. The music presented in his debut album is somewhat influenced by Tool and APC's music as well, but it is fresh and soul-stirring just to the same extent.

Personally, I'm not into either extremely polished or totally raw production so the sound of THE CITADEL appealed to me right away. It is quite organic and there's a lot of natural, soft space in it. I'll go even further and say that the sound has something old school to it. What can I say, I just love those dreamy guitars, naturally sounding distortion and well... fantastic vocals.

THE CITADEL is an eclectic record, full of interesting theme, mood and pace changes. Still, it's not a technical metal album - the emphasis is placed on atmosphere and evolving harmonies, not intricate construction of songs. Thus, despite kind of complex approach to composition, Heir to Madness managed to maintain some elements of the traditional, verse-chorus, structure of songs. Thanks to that, he gained enough space to make his vocal performance the center of the whole. Let's be honest though, his dreamy art rock guitar themes create an amazing background for it. And the heavier parts - modern yet tinged with classic hard rock feel - complete the task.

That's a real treat for fans of atmospheric rock and metal, especially for those who are waiting for the new album from Tool. THE CITADEL is more similar to APC though, with the difference that it has more progressive character and it sparks with rock energy more often than Maynard's side project. I'll speak bluntly, it's simply better.

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 9/10[fantastic!]: Citadel of Self; Arbiter of Somnolence || 8/10[great]: Bliss; Wondrous Wrath; Last Line of Defense || 7/10[very good]: Siamese Suicide; Manhole || OVERALL = 80/100

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