Review

CLOUDSCAPE New Era

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
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4/5 ·
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Genre: progressive metal

At first listen, this album might not come across very progressive (but, it definitely does not take more than one listen to realize that this is good music performed by very skilled musicians) for a band slated as a progressive metal band. Of course, the album is called "New Era", which might suggest a different direction in the music of the band - I don't know because this is my first acquaintance with Cloudscape.

Anyway, subsequent listens will reveal all the progressive details. The music is very eclectic, drawing on power metal, speed metal, groove metal, more traditional metal and genres outside the realm of metal such as alternative rock and AOR.

Thus most of the songs on the album combine crushing grooves with melodic vocal lines and catchy choruses, and a track like 'Your Desire' also has a hint of the rage of speed/thrash metal. Not unlike Queensrÿche back in the "Rage For Order", "Operation: Mindcrime" and "Empire" Days, Cloudscape's music is thus very accessible but still quite sophisticated and not shy of making use of dynamic song structures that contain melodic almost ballad-like passages as heard in, for instance 'Voyager 9' and 'Pull the Brake'.

Personally, I really like this combination of various impressions from the universe of rock. A track like 'Voyager 9', for instance, combines the spacy keyboards of space rock and the uplifting spirit of AOR hard rock, also adding some grooves and spiced up with the twin guitar leads of NWoBHM, while 'Seen it All Before' combines almost metalcore-like grooves with AOR-oriented chorus-lines and almost funky grooves.

Personally, I think this is a very well put together album which is just sophisticated and eclectic enough to be considered progressive, but at the same time very accessible and catchy. Fans of more accessible progressive metal like Queensrÿche, Anubis Gate, and Persona Non Grata should check "New Era" out.
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dtguitarfan wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I don't think you're off at all in saying that Cloudscape doesn't come across as being very Progressive. I think all of their albums have that sort of "quasi-progressive" feel where you know they're very good but are not quite sure they belong in the classification. But I guess that kind of makes them almost a "crossover" band maybe? Great album, in any case.

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