Roastinghouse Records (2012)
When you lose 60% of your lineup in the interim between studio recordings, one can only hope that the creative firepower and will to survive comes through with the veteran members. In Cloudscape, those duties fall on vocalist Mike Andersson and guitarist Patrik Svard. It’s not like Mike’s been idling his time away- he’s a member of Fullforce who released their debut album “One” in 2011-and Cloudscape continues to focus on their own take of melodic progressivemetal with this fourth album “New Era”.
The new members include guitarist Stefan Rosqvist, bassist Hakan Nyander and drummer Fredrik Joakimsson- and this infusion of band changeover seems to have taken the group into more straightforward territory- harkening back to influences from Evergrey and Pagan’s Mind- on songs like “Silver Ending” and “Seen It AllBefore”. The keyboard use sets up the arrangement atmosphere on a sparse/minimalistic basis, as the band create sonic pictures that set up the lyrics. The 8:39 “Voyager 9” for instance contains outer world guitar effects that swirl in and out of Mike Andersson’s lower range verse delivery- even taking slight affinity from “Round And Round”/Ratt for the guitar parts around 0:44-1:19 passage. The tribe vocal chanting also gives “Before Your Eyes” more of a mystical feel- something that I believe differentiates Cloudscape from their contemporaries in the progressive metal world.
The best progressive acts in my mind balance their own stylistic template with the ability to shift course from album to album. The changes do not have to be large- but they need to keep the listeners on their toes so that each record remains distinct. “New Era” contains all that I desire from Cloudscape, and the fresh musicianship as a result keeps the band on a more melodic journey. This fourth effort seems to balance their heaviness represented on “Global Drama” with their hook-laden elements and songwriting strength from “Crimson Skies”-which means another winner in my book.
Rating: 5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe