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Mad Hatter - Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter
Mad Hatter
by Martin Knap at 17 April 2018, 9:03 AM

Power metal. Many metal musicians of a more extreme bent pride themselves in not following any trends, but ironically the genre that is the most anti-trend of all is power metal, the geekiest of all metal genres that doesn’t try hard to prove its cred. MAD HATTER come from Sweden and they definitely sound like Swedish power metal - think about the ballsy, epic, a little bit throwback sound of bands like HAMMERFALL, DREAM EVIL or STEEL ATTACK. At the same time the melodicism - more notable on some songs than others - bears some similarities to German bands like GAMMA RAY, EDGUY, and like AVANTASIA these Swedes also draw inspiration from sappy 80s pop rock music. MAD HATTER shares some of the nuttiness - some may say silliness - of the last two mentioned bands, and this is extended to the lyrical themes as well, which deal with madness and internal struggle.

The self-titled debut album kicks off with an almost 9 minutes song “Mad Hatter Shine”. After a long intro a playful, driving riff kicks in and obviously a big, singalong chorus follows. In the latter half the song transitions into a slower sentimental passage with some choral backing vocals. The song can wear a little bit thin after a while and I certainly could imagine a better opener. "The Gunslinger" is a straight-forward Swedish power metal romp, it has a catchy, but silly melody. On "Dancing Light" the pop-rock influences are quite apparent, that even features typical arena rock backing vocals. The melody of the main riff in “Phantom Riders” is based on a notorious melody from Mozart’s "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and the song features a wonky, unhinged piano solo. It’s not a bad song, I just want to point out that things can get really nutty here. We find the stronger cuts in the latter half of the album. “Vengeance in His Mind” has a good emotional pre-chorus which works well in combination with the epic chorus. “Bring Me The Moon”, that has MAD HATTER going full Tobias Sammet, and the closer “Mad Hatter Become” are also quite enjoyable. On the other hand we have a song like “Fly Away” that sounds spastic and the strained vocals here make me cringe.

I have a bit mixed feelings about this album. Most of the songs are good and there are some stand-out cuts but some of the material drags the album down.  But I would recommend power metal fans to give MAD HATTER a shot.

Songwriting: 6
Memorability: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 7


3 Star Rating

1. Mad Hatter Shine
2. The Gunslinger
3. Dancing Light
4. Fly Away
5. Go
6. Phantom Riders
7. Face the Truth
8. Vengeance in His Mind
9. Bring Me the Moon
10. Mad Hatter Become
11. Death Angel Sings
Magnus Skoog - Bass
Alfred Fridhagen - Drums
Eric Rauti - Guitars
Petter Hjerpe - Vocals
Record Label: Art Gates Records


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