Madsword - The Global Village


Year of Release: 2000
Label: Underground Symphony
Catalog Number: USCD 044
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:37:00

When Progressive Metal wasn?t flourishing as well as it is now, say 5 years ago, bands like Madsword were releasing prog metal discs that were going virtually unnoticed and unappreciated. Madsword?s first release, called Evolution, was a feast of semi-complex, tinged with melodic based song structures, with a guitarist (Gianni Guerra) who gave more than a passing homage to players like John Petrucci and Jim Matheos. The songs from the disc were long, somewhat technical, and really showed the talent of Guerra. Plagued with vocal problems, the band needed to replace their singer, and kept the band from recording their next disc. Teasing the prog metal world with various MP3 songs from their upcoming disc, Gianni updated us as to which direction the band wanted to head in with their new disc called The Global Village, one that most of us weren?t ready for even after hearing samples along the creative path that Gianni paved for some of us.

Some of the most enjoyable moments in the progressive metal world are receiving discs that you weren?t ready for. There are the established bands in the prog metal world that repeatedly release quality discs, and there are those who release less than stellar discs to an unforgiving public who quickly bash and trash these bands in hopes that something new and exciting will replace the routine, expected discs that pour forth on a regular basis. Madsword has virtually snuck up on the unsuspecting prog metal world and served up an incredible package of prog metal that should make most fans of the genre jump for joy.

THE STYLE:

If you remember back to Evolution, Madsword was intent on re-creating a sort of complex Fates Warning meets Dream Theater style of music with an emphasis on the guitar pyrotechnics of Gianni Guerra, who is more than capable of pulling off that feat.

While the disc received its share of praise from a then starving prog metal community, the complexity and somewhat cold feeling of the music stopped many from enjoying the disc to its fullest. Gianni Guerra regrouped his thoughts and had to find another singer because of throat problems with the original singer. While in the midst of auditions, Gianni was hard at work writing new material with a different approach this time out. The emphasis would be on melodies and beauty this time instead of complexity and intricacy. The Global Village is exactly what Gianni set it out to be -- a melodic, with an emphasis on melodic, progressive metal disc that not only incorporates tons of melodic warmth that many fans crave, but Gianni doesn?t give up his spotlight on his guitar playing in the meantime. The songs are structured so that not only is the emphasis on melodies, but Gianni?s complex guitar style is still present only not as prominent in the sound due to the re-structure of the song styles. The sound ranges from the intricate atmospheres of Fates Warning, to the complexities of their Italian counterparts Empty Tremor, who pay their homage somewhat to Dream Theater. The subtle acoustic guitar parts do remind me of Fates of yesteryear while some of the heavier parts remind me of quality Italian prog metal with some Dream Theater influence, but nowhere near enough to be called a copy or a clone of any of those bands. Madsword has re-identified themselves through this new approach, and with the addition of keyboards, a new singer, and an absolutely superb production, Madsword has themselves one of the finest prog metal releases of the year. The song structures are still very progressive in style, but with less complexity as on Evolution. Gianni does treat us with his trademark instrumental song, and this does give us that original complex sound that Madsword was originally known for. The rest of the songs rely on heavy melodic choruses, compliments of Andrea Bedin?s great harmonies, and are led by some of the cleanest, crisp sounding acoustic guitars I?ve ever heard, which segue into crunching electric guitar passages that never lose sight of the warm melodies. The combination of subtleties, beauty, and heaviness is what makes this disc so special.

THE VOCALS:

Andrea Bedin is one of the main reasons this disc succeeds as it does. His pleasant mid-range voice, with a slight Italian accent, and great harmonies only add to the beauty of the music. Some reviews have hinted that Andrea stayed too much in his range safely; didn?t have much aggression, and I believe I even read one review that stated he was out of key some of the time ?? Well, I?m here to state that Andrea uses his voice in a very melodic style, keeping time with the beauty of the music, and complementing it nicely instead of dominating it as people would believe it should be. He does stay well with a safe range, but uses vocal harmonies to his advantage, and maintains a consistency throughout the disc that leaves no room for complaints. It is due to his tone and style that helps lead to the success of this incredible disc. If I had to liken his voice to another tone or style, I?d have to say that he sounds like a less aggressive version of Ray Alder ? in that the tone is similar, but the style is somewhat different.

THE PRODUCTION:

You could have all the great music and vocals you could handle - but without a decent production nowadays, it seems that discs come and go based solely on less than stellar sound, and with the available equipment and access to it much easier these days, it?s hard for people to accept anything less than good sound when it comes to progressive metal. Fortunately, Gianni Guerra recognizes this fact, and furthermore, probably knows that many Italian prog metal discs suffer from less than acceptable sound and set out to match the production with the greatness of the music he has created. He and Luigi Stefanini have created some of the cleanest sounds I?ve heard in quite some time. It is hard to find fault with sound this good --- and I won?t pick apart this wonderful sound because it?s as good as any recording I?ve ever heard, and it contains the best acoustic guitar recordings I?ve ever heard. The clarity and precision of these sounds speak for themselves and will make any sound system shine with brightness and crispness. Every instrument stands out on its own, without any one instrument dominating the sound. Even the guitars, which drive the Madsword sound, stand evenly among the rest of the instruments, giving way to a collaboration of efforts rather than the driving force of one. The vocals are precisely laid down, and the bass is easily heard separate and apart from the other instruments. The drums have a clean, natural tone and sound rich and full. Personally, I would have beefed up the snare drum a bit (as I always would on every prog metal disc ) but even I can?t complain when music recordings sound this good. From the punch, to the crunch, to the subtle beauties, to the mixture of all instruments and vocals, this is one of the best recordings I?ve heard all year, if not one of the best ever in prog metal.

THE VERDICT:

This disc is easily a top 3 contender and will be the number 1 disc for many for the year. Had Fates Warning released this disc, it would garner much praise and everyone would be screaming with delight because Fates was back and doing their thing again instead of the controversy they?ve caused with their somewhat change of style. Madsword has given us exactly what we want in prog metal - complexity without losing musical interest, maximum melodic warmth, great vocals, superb production, keys, storyline, and incredible musicianship. It?s hard to ask for anything more than this band has given us, and in a time where progressive metal seems to be dying or stagnant, it?s bands like Madsword that keep the spirit alive, and keep the wheel turning. If you are into melodic prog metal that pays a bit of homage to Fates Warning injected with Italian prog metal blood, then this is the ticket to heaven for you. Gianni Guerra has created just about the ultimate package in progressive metal, right down to the incredible digi-pak artwork, which is a feast for the eyes. It?s not hard to see what Guerra has been doing for the past couple of years since "Evolution" was released, and it?s ironic that the name of that disc was "Evolution" because "The Global Village" is certainly indicative of the word "Evolution" as this is a complete metamorphosis of the band as it was, turned into something new, fresh and exciting. Be sure to catch the beautiful narration?s of Sue Pathkiller (echorider) on some of the songs, she adds more beauty to an already beautiful disc. This disc is essential for melodic prog metal lovers; not to be missed.

[Although I haven't heard the album, I am quite taken with the album artwork; the detail is such that you'd find gracing the jacket of a novel ... or the production artwork for a film. You can see the sleeve in much better detail at the Madsword website {though as of Dec 2004, the site is no more; though you may find the artwork at Royo's site linked below} -ed]

[September 2002: I am flipping through the pages of Realms Of Fantasy that has just today, this moment, arrived in the mail. There, in the featured artist section, is this very illustration, by Luis Royo, which graces the cover of Julie E. Czerneda's A Thousand Words For Stranger novel, published 1997 by DAW Books Inc. -ed.]


Tracklisting:
Connect (0:47) / Time In The Ice (8:04) / How Much Progress (7:15) / Darknened Rooms (6:59) / Living Hexadecimal (7:27) / Mind's Bug (6:53) / Travelling Through A Wire (5:36) / Behind The Consciousness Of Memory (2:20) / A New Beginning? (10:16)

Musicians:
Andrea Bedin - vocals
Gianni Guerra - guitars
Lorenzo Castellarin - keyboards
Walter Pod - drums
Simon Rosani - bass

Discography:
Evolution (1996)
The Global Village (2000)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin IT

Added: October 21st 2000
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 935
Language: english

  

[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]