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Ode to Smashing Broken Hearts. - 95%

Empyreal, April 16th, 2010

This band is just so creative that they are flat out awesome. Made up of members of Edguy, Squealer, Axel Rudi Pell and…well, just fucking Rick Myathsin…Taraxacum play a very unorthodox but very cool breed of Power Metal that flirts with Heavy Metal, breaks its heart and then smashes it into a million pieces with a metal mallet. They called their first opus Spirit of Freedom, and this is The Review Of It. Let’s get started.

The musicianship is tight and aggressive and melodic, the songwriting is snappy and the energy is just off the charts - blasting off, you could say. Rick Myathsin screeches like a banshee and can also croon like a part of a heartbroken serenade, showing enough variety to sell goddamn near anything. The drumming is technical and spastic, the melodies are progressive, often varying in mood and tone, and the riffs are molten steel that bites like an angry piranha. People expecting something…well, normal at all…will be in for a shock when they hear this.

The band kicks off with a song about getting over an abusive (or so I speculate) girlfriend or spouse in the title track. It’s a soaring, shining Power Metal anthem with a ton of attitude, and the chorus will get stuck in your head for days. “I’ve got a whole world that’s NOT a part of YOUUU…”…hell yeah. Oh, and there's a lot of swearing in this song, too; very unusual for Power Metal. “Blast Off!” follows, and yes, that exclamation point needs to be on there, as this song is a progressive barn-burner with a jazz break, subtly changing riffing that varies the ways it charges for your throat, and a screaming chorus that would be more at home as the whistle on a steamboat, or something. “Alone” is a quiet ballad that never quite explodes when you think it will, preferring to slowly cook along with a strange kind of grace, a restrained elegance…

…you know what? I think this album is kind of like the deconstruction and spontaneous, random reconstruction of metal’s core elements. You know those pictures where it’s a whole human body that is really just a cobbled-together puzzle of a bunch of different parts of different people? That’s this album. The vocals don't sound like anything too weird until you hit the fact that Myathsin lets out several f-bombs in the course of this album. The riffs are classic metal inspired, the melodies are sometimes rather orthodox for melodic metal, but the songwriting is as whacked out as they come, pieced together with little regard for anything resembling convention. And that is exactly what’s good about it. Standard elements put together in unusual ways that become more and more apparent to the listener as the album sinks in and grows on them.

With other standout moments like the Crimson-Glory-off-their-meds rendition “Delirium,” the happy jaunt “Never Let You Go,” with its folksy acoustic break and cooking melodic metal storm building into a ricocheting chorus, and the rumbling, dense closer “Think!,” Taraxacum have forged one hell of a fun, inventive album that I will be spinning for years to come. For some reason people haven’t really heard of this band, but really they’re a gem that you won’t regret if you try out. Get this for your fix of strange, crazy music that just flat out rules. Highly, highly recommended.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com