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Tad Morose: Modus Vivendi

Tad Morose's Modus Vivendi proves not only that the Swedish quintet have finally and fully arrived to lead the power metal charge into the next decade but that they've emerged from the prolonged apprenticeship stage of their career capable of crafting fine albums that impact the listener on an undeniably deep emotional level. And, perhaps more importantly, the band has given the listener a chance to grow with them, to embrace the many facets offered here. It's one thing to raise your fist and yell at the onset of the opening "Anubis," it's another thing to remain unmoved during vocalist Urban Breed's utterances in "Cyberdome" and still another not to get lost in the world Breed creates during the fantastic "Unwelcome Guest."

What's perhaps most remarkable about Breed's performances here is not the unending store of power he seems to possess but rather the way in which he can deliver one line or one verse in such a way that transforms the track from merely great to impossibly brilliant. Of course it probably helps that the rhythm section of Anders Modd (bass) and Peter Morén (drums) not only propels each song with chicken skin-inspiring accuracy but that they leave room for the guitarists Christer Andersson and Daniel Olsson to add their brilliant tonal brush strokes that gently but irrevocably change the structure of the whole picture, rendering it a deep, breathtaking panorama that refuses to let go of the listener's heart.

From this moment on, Modus Vivendi will be remembered as the moment that Tad Morose came upon two diverging paths and took the one leading to the pantheon of power metal stardom.

Track Listing:
1. Anubis (3:54)
2. No Mercy (4:14)
3. Afraid To Die(5:28)
4. Clearly Insane (3:49)
5. Cyberdome (4:37)
6. Take On The World (5:21)
7. Mother Shipton's Word's (4:03)
8. Unwelcome Guest (4:02)
9. Life In A Lonely Grave (7:15)
10. When The Spirit Rules The World (4:33)

Total Time: 47:10

Added: January 15th 2005
Reviewer: Jedd Beaudoin
Score:
Related Link: Century Media Records
Hits: 2139
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Tad Morose: Modus Vivendi
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-08-06 16:00:29
My Score:

The more vocalist Urban Breed contributes to the songwriting, the more he seems to define the sound of Tad Morose. I remember the first Tad Morose disc he sang on, A Mended Rhyme, and compare it to this one, and believe me, it is impossible not to notice the change of style in this band. With the release of the incredibly amazing Undead, Tad Morose became a completely new band. It also brought them the recognition that had ignored them all the years as they signed to Century Media.

I will not get into the history of Tad Morose here; but I will say this. When I eagerly picked up the previous album Matters of the Dark, I was a little disappointed--especially because of the brilliant Undead CD. I knew they were in the process of establishing their new direction, but MOTD overall ended up sounding too much like its predecessor and somewhat failed to bring new ideas to the table. Considering that none of the previous Tad Morose albums sounded like each other, I was a little baffled, and although good in its own right, I rank MOTD as the Tad Morose album I listen to the least. Taking this into account, I can safely say that Modus Vivendi is a step in the right direction.

The first song "Anubis" is one of the greatest surprises of this album. I don't know why, but both the Middle Eastern melodies and riffing as well as Urban Breed's vocals remind me terribly of Turkey's greatest and best heavy metal band Mezarkabul (formerly known as Pentagram). [So if you like this song and want to hear more of it make sure you check out Mezarkabul - Unspoken or Pentagram - Anatolia. They're among my all-time favourite CDs.] Back to Modus Vivendi. "Anubis" is one of the unusual songs Tad Morose have composed in the post-Andren era and it's a very good one at that. "No Mercy" is like a second album opener with its crunchy opening and fiery chorus. It easily hints that Urban Breed may arguably be doing his best vocal performance in his Tad Morose career. His singing is very aggressive, which we heard on some songs in Undead and MOTD, but on Modus Vivendi, he retains his aggressive delivery through the entire album. As "Afraid to Die" kicks in and gets you going, somewhere towards the middle, you may worry that the guitar work may be lacking, especially in the soloing department. That was one of the major setbacks of MOTD. Now Undead didn't have too many killer solos either, because of the new approach and absence of keys. However we didn't need too much emphasis on guitars on Undead. MOTD seemed to follow the same path but there weren't any rocking solos on it. But Modus Vivendi doesn't suffer from the same problems. The solo in "Afraid to Die" rocks hard and heavy! And it's not the only one. There are amazing solos in every other song. Now that is great, isn't it? The twin guitar work is highly impressive and the soloing is top notch. When one guitar lays down the solos, the other fills the gaps with subtle rhythm work and sublime bass lines.

"Clearly Insane" is perhaps the heaviest song Tad Morose has ever composed. Its almost thrashy intro is incredibly well done and h e a v y. Urban Breed sings like there's no tomorrow and again the guitar solo takes you to a higher level. Unlike the last three Breed-era albums, there aren't any ballads on this one. "Cyberdome" is the only mid-tempo song and even that one has an interesting momentum shifting from slow to really fast melodic passages. The chorus is less catchy, and I'm sure it's meant to be that way, displaying Urban Breed's simply beautiful vocals over a soft acoustic piece and rhythmic drum work. The rest of the album pretty much continues in the same vein offering some awesome guitar work from Daniel Olsson and Christer Andersson. I am also highly impressed by drummer Peter Moren whose tasteful drumming on "Anubis" made my jaws drop. Bassists are always the bottom line of metal music. Take them out and you only have a half-complete song. Anders Modd deserves a special praise for his work here. This thing wouldn't have been what it is without his input. Good job indeed. Behind Urban Breed, Wolverine vocalist Stefan Zell once again appears as a guest singer and as usual he does a fairly impressive job.

So why not 5 stars you may wonder. The reason for that is, being a big fan of the older Tad Morose albums, which were beautiful and unique examples of dark progressive metal, I feel those albums have more substance, and therefore, more replay value for me. In my opinion, it is still open to discussion whether the complete exclusion of keyboards from Tad Morose's music was a good move or not. While I really love Undead, I still feel A Mended Rhyme (despite the poor production) has its own special place. The older albums with Kristian Andren were more experimental in attitude and darkly progressive in structure, while the current material doesn't explore much new ground. On the other hand it's more in your face, more direct and heavy. I think it's a good decision that the total running time of this CD is less than 50 minutes because if it were longer it could be more difficult to make it to the end of it. Currently the guys in Tad Morose obviously want to make music that flat out rocks and that's perfectly fine with me.

Tad Morose: Modus Vivendi
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-01-15 10:48:01
My Score:

Every now and again you find a group that you miss somehow. One such group that I had never heard of was Tad Morose from Sweden. The band was making an appearance with EdGuy in NYC on their way to the ProgPowerUSA Fest. After listening to the CD Modus Vivendi and also catching a live set I can only say one thing about these makers of molten metal……FANTASTIC!!! From start to finish this CD is an awesome piece of work. I enjoyed track after track from this Swedish Quintet and here are some highlights about it.

Tad Morose brings a special quality to the term power metal, as it is very old school in its sound yet can also be considered original in its delivery and overall vibe. The vocals of Urban Breed don't rely much on the operatic styling as many of his peers are apt to do these days. Yet they hold well and powerful through track after track. He is also a killer frontman getting the audience rallied to the music in a live set. The bandmates providing a great backing vocal to his lead making the chorus sections that much more full and exciting. The lineup has changed a little for those who have been following the group. It now stands as Urban Breed (vocals), Christer Andersson (guitars), Anders Modd (bass), Peter Moren (Drums) and Daniel Olsson (Guitars).

Some parts of the CD have a definitive Savatage feel to them and guitarist Christer "Krunt" Andersson will be quick to cite the groups influencial nature as part of their sound. You will find this homage most prevalent in tracks like "Unwelcome Guest" and "Take On The World" (my favorite so far). Some of the heavier and faster numbers are "Mother Shiptons Words" and "Cyberdome". As a metal fan, this is a CD that you should seek out, and a band that needs to play more shows in the USA. Give this a shot with the highest of recommendations from me. It is that good.



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