Tad Morose – Revenant (Despotz Records)Sunday, 3rd November 2013
The glory and partial genius that was Tad Morose’s 2003 album Modus Vivendi was sidetracked by the dreaded ‘ole singer switch, which as an unfortunate consequence, is probably the most important position in a band like this. Even with increased album sales, better tours, so and so forth, the Swedes and vocalist Urban Breed split in 2005, sending the band into an eight-year holding pattern, one that even saw the temporary inclusion of ex-Annihilator throat Joe Comeau. They’ve gradually put themselves back together with former Steel Attack singer Ronny Hemlin getting the nod for Revenant. Is it as good as its predecessor? No, but those are some big shoes to fill…
To the unfamiliar, Tad Morose plays a brand of straightforward power metal; maybe a more Scandinavian Accept, if you will. It’s no-frills metal, but heady all the way, with prime chorus choices leading the way, much like they did before. Hemlin goes about it in different fashion than Breed (as he should, mind you), coming across as a more honed-in Ripper Owens, which shines through on the excellent opener “Beneath a Veil of Crying Souls” or the chant-along “Babylon.” Elsewhere, his fly-throughs on “Death Embrace” are festival-sized, while he’s bares even a bit of a rasp on “Timeless Dreaming.”
There’s never been a “wow” factor with Tad Morose, so they’ve always left it up to songcraft to get their point across. It’s a similar thread across Revenant, with mindful, for-the-song riffs, gallant leads, and an onus vocal hooks that get things done, much like they did before. And for a band that has been away for 10 years, Revenant is the right way to start what amounts to Tad Morose Mach III.