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Prog rock meets heavy metal meets death vocals - 78%

MacMoney, November 4th, 2002

Dan Swanö, the man behind such bands as Nightingale, Edge of Sanity, Pan-Thy-Monium, Unicorn etc. etc. Moontower is his solo project, unfortunately not an ongoing one. Moontower is Swanö's first creative project after his departure from Edge of Sanity and also his first creative project after his writer's block. He is a one man wonder, he has recorded all the instruments by himself and the record was also recorded, produced and engineered by him so it most probably is just the way he wants it to be.

Moontower doesn't sound like anything Swanö made before it, nor does it sound like anything he has done after it. It is easy to say what kind of music Moontower is since it is really clear when you hear it. Classic heavy metal riffs meet Swanö's great death vocals and keyboard melodies from 70's prog rock acts (Kansas, Marillion). The combination may sound a bit weird but works very well. Most of the time the keyboard melodies are in the lead and bring most of the flavor in to the music. Swanö doesn't use just one sound on the keyboard though, he also uses it as a hammond and a grand piano which adds diversity to the album.

Swanö also knows how to use his instruments and doesn't over emphasize any instrument. The keyboard solos are done with exquisite taste and are nothing too flashy. Guitar solos are scarce but the ones found are really great. Swanö's experience and excellence as a composer shows as well. Every instrument supports each other very well and Swanö's really strong vocals and great vocal melodies fit the songs almost perfectly and even perfectly at times (the verse of 'Patchworks'). Also Swanö's compositions are very catchy. They stick to your mind like glue but there's a down side to that too. While most of the parts are catchy as hell, not all of them are and the non-catchy parts end up sounding more boring than they actually are. It is just a minor flaw and doesn't intervene with the overall listening experience almost at all.

(Originally published in Tuonela webzine (c) 2002)