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BEST SONGS: "Afraid To Die," "Mother Shipton's Words," "Life In A Lonely Grave"
Well, well, well. Looks like Swedish countrymen Falconer and Tad Morose are in the "Band of the Decade" title fight. Each band released three amazing albums since 2000, each one boasts tremendous songwriting skills and a fantastic vocalist. Of course, Falconer debuted in 2000, and Tad Morose already had 4 previous albums to their credit, but the fight is on, and only time will tell which one will step down first, by releasing a weak album.
After hearing "Modus Vivendi" for the first time, I thought that it was simply "yet another solid work, not quite on par with "MotD," but still excellent." Several months later the album gets a five-star rating and a classic status, mostly due to the complete and utter domination of Urban Breed and catchy-as-all-hell choruses. It is incredible that, unlike so many metal acts, these guys just don't run out of ideas for hooks! The songs are heavy, crunchy, dark, and mysterious. The reference point would be Martin-era Black Sabbath, and one should easily recognize the influence of "Law Maker" on one of "MV" best tracks, "Mother Shipton's Words." Urban Breed continues to be unstoppable, as a hybrid of Tate, Midnight, Stevens, Rytkonen, and his own unique style. What makes this album weaker than its immediate predecessors is its slight predictability. The riffs are more generic than before, and the songs are starting to follow a certain formula. The arrangements are also not exactly innovative. Fortunately, Urban Breed is there to save the day. His vocal melodies can make just about any song great, and they do. Choruses to "Afraid To Die" ("I am telling you..."), "Cyberdome" ("Was it worth it all? I don't know..."), "Take On The World" ("We shake the ground..."), "Mother Shipton's Words" ("Tyrants shall rise, tyrants shall fall..."), "Life In A Lonely Grave," and "Spirit Rules The World" ("I'm still turning in my sleep...") are simply infectious. "Take On The World" does just that: it's the band's manifesto and a plan of action, and if any power metal band can do it, they certainly can. Most of the tracks are in the mid-tempo, with occasional rev-ups, in form of "Clearly Insane" and my personal favorite "Mother Shipton's Words," but clearly the band feels most comfortable in the dark atmosphere of the gothic plodding mid-tempo sounds, where Breed can do the most damage with his pipes. A speedy duo of "Take On The World" and "Mother Shipton" can only be bested by a doomy one-two punch of "Life In A Lonely Grave" and "The Spirit." Now I just wish for the band to take a year or two off, before their bank account of ideas starts showing signs of depletion. My version of the cd comes with three bonus tracks: covers of Uriah Heep ("Rainbow Demon," excellent), Abba ("Knowing Me, Knowing You," also appeared on the Abba metal tribute, average), and Accept ("Losing More Than You Ever Had," good). A tremendous work, for vocal melodies, if nothing else.