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Mad Hatter – Pieces Of Reality

Mad Hatter
Pieces Of Reality
by Joseph Brewer at 09 June 2020, 11:10 PM

Formed in 2017, Swedish power metal band MAD HATTER has returned for their sophomore album, “Pieces Of Reality.” Original members Petter Hjerpe and Alfred Fridhagen debuted their self-titled album in 2018, which was met with pretty much universal approval amongst the power metal community. The sound that MAD HATTER captures will please classic power metal fans as the influence of bands like HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY, and STRATOVARIOUS are felt strongly throughout each song.

As a power metal fan, I’ve heard the name MAD HATTER tossed around with moderate frequency, often as recommendations for people who want no nonsense, straightforward power metal. In that respect, I already had a good opinion of them, even though I had not listened to their material yet. Researching the band online, I see that they stay pretty on brand with the album covers, with their debut album prominently displaying the iconic image of the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland books. In “Pieces Of Reality,” that image has become distorted, the Hatter’s maw stretched to grotesque proportions into a cavern opening, a lone figure hiding inside in the shadow below the telltale hat.

The album starts with a short instrumental track, “Fever Dreams.” I will say that this is a fun track with equal parts orchestral atmosphere and haunted circus noises (creepy clown laughter, distorted merry-go-round music, etc). It kicks right off into the first single that MAD HATTER released for the album, “Master Of The Night.” The song is exactly as promised, straightforward power metal. I’m leaning towards calling most of this as heavy metal, but there are moments in the album with speed bursts and epic peaks that fit just nicely with power. Most of the song rocks and progresses just fine, but I did find a moment near the latter half of the song a bit jarring. They do a little lyrical breakdown with Latin chants that just comes off a bit shriek-y and out of place.

To be honest, the first half of the album did not grab me, which is rare. The songs sort of blurred together and I had trouble differentiating the styles between them. All that being said, the performances by each member of the band are terrific. Hjerpe is a wonderful Tobias Sammet clone. His nasally falsetto voice soars and wails, challenging the listener to sing along and pump their fist to the song. The band behind him is locked in, each member playing their dedicated instrument with precision and flair. Check out “The Children From The Stars” for one of the most epic and powerful songs that really allows the band to show off their songwriting ability.

The second half of the album is a lot more interesting to me. “Ignite” is a great track that sounds like prime EDGUY or HAMMERFALL: fast, driving, high energy, and dramatic. “Collector Of Souls” has the same speed, but the mood is a bit darker, which is the balance I think they’re trying to maintain throughout the album. Overall, I enjoyed most of the material on “Pieces Of Reality.” MAD HATTER will not go down as innovators, but instead, they continue the legacy and spirit of some of the archetypal power metal bands in the genre. Executed well, though a bit repetitive, “Pieces Of Reality” by MAD HATTER should please any fan that’s in the mood for some high energy licks and a bit of creepy fun.

Favorite Songs: “The Children from the Stars”, “Ignite”, “Collector of Souls”

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Fever Dreams
2. Master Of The Night
3. Queen Of Hearts
4. Rutledge Asylum
5. The Children From The Stars
6. Pieces Of Reality
7. The Valley
8. Ignite
9. Awake
10. Collector Of Souls
11. I’ll Save The World
Petter Hjerpe – Vocals and Guitar
Dennis Eriksson – Lead Guitar
Magnus Skoog – Bass
Alfred Fridhagen – Drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records


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