Following up last years breakout CD Undead, Tad Morose has delivered another 11 songs of tradition-laced metal and their best overall album to date with Matters Of The Dark. The Metal Church and early era Savatage influences are immediately noticeable on “Sword Of Retribution” and “Matters Of The Dark” (I wish the Savatage would go back to this style). Urban Breed’s vocals sound like a cross between the Mountain King Jon Oliva and Mike Howe. What really makes this CD stand out from many other European power metal releases is the fact that these Swedes are taking the sound back into the 1985 area while still maintaining an updated approach. No German melodic speed metal influences here. “Ethereal Soul” has odd time changes and vocal experimentation that shows the band is confident in taking chances as opposed to by the numbers metal.
The songs throughout “Matters Of The Dark” are melodic without sacrificing heaviness. After two listens, most of the tracks are familiar especially “In The Shadows”. Their press release points out the lack of throwaway tracks on the CD, and I find this statement most agreeable. If you are looking for other comparisons, “Another Way” would stand up well to any mid to late 80′s Loudness tracks.
It appears Tad Morose has shook once and for all the Black Mark era sound. While their older material like “A Mended Rhyme” showed talent, they suffered from a non-dynamic sound. Urban’s vocals are sounding really strong for two albums in a row, out front, not competing with the riffage of Christer and Daniel’s guitars. “Matters Of The Dark” is an early candidate for “Riding The Beast” into many top 10 heavy metal CD’s of 2002 lists.