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As power surges through me… - 95%

naverhtrad, May 18th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Century Media Records

If you’ve been reading my reviews of Tad Morose’s discography at all so far, you know what follows. Modus Vivendi is fuggin’ brilliant, mate: it’s the clearest distillation of what made them a great power metal band, one of the dread names spoken with awe among those who love to headbang. If Undead does edge this album out in my estimation, that’s purely a matter of personal preference. After all, Modus Vivendi contains some of the absolute finest songs the band ever wrote: namely ‘Afraid to Die’ and ‘Cyberdome’, to be discussed in further detail below.

Modus Vivendi takes the eldritch atmospherics of Undead and blends them with the catchy hooks and straight-up power of Matters of the Dark. But what makes this album work, and what makes it a worthy entry in Tad Morose’s discography, is that it has emotional weight behind it, to an even greater degree than its predecessor.

‘Anubis’ exemplifies a lot of this weight. It paces itself out, mostly at a middling tempo. It starts off with a slow build – a single ominous synth effect swelling in the background, an eerie Egyptian-sounding keyboard trill – before launching into an electifying chord which very quickly launches into an inexorable, stomping momentum, driven by a relentless drum-and-bass line. But it has that Angel Dust quality, where the heaviness doesn’t just exist for its own sake but has a reason and a direction. And Urban Breed’s vocals don’t just ride on top but instead place themselves firmly at the core; the screams surge with, and provide on their own, the same power and kinesis that keeps the song moving and sends massive electric pulses down your spine. Even the downtuned, doomy bridge with the reverbed-out vocals works, because it keeps carrying the full weight forward.

As per usual, they haven’t entirely forgotten their progressive and doom roots: with ‘Life in a Lonely Grave’ and ‘Cyberdome’. And Tad mix it up superbly with speedier elements as well: ‘No Mercy’, ‘Clearly Insane’ and especially ‘Mother Shipton’s Words’ sear at every bit as high a temperature and velocity as anything else they’ve done before or since – but without losing at all that same weight. Tad Morose clearly have their trademark, but have not lost one bit of their versatility.

But they’re clearly able to scale new heights within that watermark. ‘Afraid to Die’ is a scintillatingly-brilliant, masterful piece of songwriting that sees Urban Breed taking on two halves of a conversation between a man who is on the verge of death, and his best friend who can’t quite let go and can’t quite come to grips with that reality. Though it would be wrong indeed to call this ‘operatic metal’ in the way the term is usually meant, there is indeed a rock-operatic quality to this song that outdoes many such ‘operatic’ bands, to the point that the guitar solo (while by no means a bad one, if Andersson was even capable of such!) feels almost like an afterthought, so thoroughly is it shadowed by the weight of the lyrics and of Breed’s vocal performance.

And then there’s ‘Cyberdome’, which just picks up and runs with A Mended Rhyme’s affinity for dark dystopian SFnal themes, and finally makes the best possible use of the old proggy experimentations with negative, empty sound-space. It’s easy to get lost in admiring both the atmospherics and the crushing heaviness of the riffs to the point where you miss where they build each other up and blend into each other. The melancholia of the instrumentation actually matches pretty well the bitterness and dissociation the lyrics themselves are burdened with, the perspective of the last human – or perhaps cyborg – the victim of some experiment or mission gone horribly wrong, and suddenly alone in an entirely mechanical world, finding nothing to interact with. Other particular high points include the frantic stomper ‘Unwelcome Guest’ (seldom have I heard the lyrics ‘die, motherfucker’ used to better effect) and the politically-charged, anti-war anger of ‘Life in a Lonely Grave’.

Now… let’s talk Uriah Heep, ABBA and Accept.

‘Rainbow Demon’ is precisely the sort of cover I can respect: they did more than justice to the original song and added their own doomy, vaguely Near Eastern spin to it. Not only that, but it forces Urban Breed out of his usual comfort zone and into a low, creepy, stoner baritone, which he manages to pull off pretty well, mixing it up superbly with his usual hard rock wail. The end result is superb and meshes very well with the rest of the album – catchy and crushingly heavy.

But… Tad Morose covering ABBA? Not as strange as you might suspect; after all, Morgana Lefay did a cover of ‘Voulez vous’, didn’t they? As it turns out, though, ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ is a shade disappointing – lyrically somewhat of an obvious choice for a band like Tad, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been sufficiently ‘metallised’ the way ‘Rainbow Demon’ was. And then, sadly, ‘Losing More than You Ever Had’ finds Tad Morose ending the album on a disappointing stumble. As covers go, this is a throwaway: slavishly done in Accept’s own style with nothing really value-added, only the fact that it’s Urban rather than Udo singing being the point of interest.

In the end, Modus Vivendi is a superb album – consistently up to the high bars set by their own previous albums (with the exceptions of two of the bonus tracks). Can’t recommend it highly enough.

19 / 20

Should have been their breakout album. - 95%

Empyreal, June 13th, 2011

Alas, this one was not to be. 2003, the year when seemingly every melodic metal band on the planet released a kick ass album, produced this shining gem amidst its fields. Tad Morose are one of those bands that is just inimitable. You can’t really copy them – you can get down the big, groovy riffs and you can hire a vocalist that sounds sorta-kinda like Breed, but you can’t really re-capture the feeling of their three albums from Undead to this one, Modus Vivendi.

One thing I really dig about this is just that the riffs are allowed full breadth to really knock the wind out of you. Tad Morose was – is? – a band that knew how to utilize their guitar sound – not just the style – to its fullest extent. This album is packed with great, hammering, old school-style riffs done up with a very idiosyncratic groove, the kind that some bands can just work with and make hookier than a barrel full of fish bait. Every riff reverberates heavily and rattles your bones. The guitars are sufficiently heavy and dry-sounding, and most of all just have that excellently HEAVY sound that just rules all out. And as such, every riff is pretty much gold, even the more standard sounding ones.

The other thing that really makes this great is just the sense of groove that I briefly mentioned above. It really makes the band who they are. This is not your standard groove – instead this is a powerful and vital sound that takes the already-good riffs and enhances them, giving them an avalanche-like feel where they just don’t ever stop coming. There isn’t really a moment on here where the powerful, deep-ridged groove isn’t rolling along the riffs like they’re coming at you on a conveyor belt, and it just sounds great. A real metallic assault on the senses.

This album starts out bellowing with the excellent “Anubis” and just never lets up, although it is a bit uneven in terms of song quality. Although mostly that just means that some tunes are absolutely the best the band ever wrote, and others are merely good to great. “Mother Shipton’s Words” and “Uninvited Guest” are in the ‘good’ category, being tunes that are solidly written to headbang and sing along to – just good, unpretentious heavy metal in the old Metal Church or Helstar mode. But “Afraid to Die,” “Take On the World” and “Cyberdome” are more in the ‘holy-Gods-of-Olympia this is awesome’ category, as they are all examples of how to write this kind of metal. Check out the spacious, elaborate arrangement of “Afraid to Die,” and how it packs in atmosphere and density while still remaining a reasonably immediate, ass-kicking tune. Or the futuristic, frigid grooves of “Cyberdome,” as masterfully articulate a song as any written by the classic bands. This is excellent songwriting in general, for any genre.

There is a very polished, clean feel to this whole thing, with each song being catchy but also refined and complex enough to reveal deeper layers. It’s a good balance between the two that I think really showed signs that the band was on the verge, musically at least, of really breaking out and becoming huge. This could have been a transition album into the kind of stardom the band deserved, but sadly they sort of fizzled out and have not released anything since. I don’t know why, and maybe someday they’ll come back and deliver another great album. But for now, this is a good page break for their career at the present. Masterful, powerful, hooky metal that any fan of the more melodic genres needs right now.

Morus Vivendi - 90%

CrystalMountain, January 7th, 2009

Tad Morose are interesting to me, they play a crushingly heavy type of power metal, heavy not only because of the fast riffs but also from a very bass heavy production. Most of the songs on this album are mid tempo, but all songs are played with authority, lots of tempo changes and a multitude of riffs per song. Like most power metal bands, they have a very tight sound, all members perform their jobs admirably. The guitars are tight and often technical, some of the solos are very well done, especially the one on "Mother Shiptons Words." The bass pounds loud and hard, and like-wise with the drums. Their vocalist is perfect for this type of music. His voice isn't too smooth, nor too gruff. He has a strong mid-range tone, and a bit of a rough edge that fits this heavy type of music perfectly.

There really are no weak songs on here, no filler, no unnecessary ballads or intro tracks. The album starts off with a great opener in "Anubis" which pretty much sets the pace for the rest of the album. Tight, fast riffs, pounding bass, lots of cymbal clashes, etc. "Afraid to Die" is a kick ass speed metal tune, it sounds like a really heavy Primal Fear song. Their vocalist shows a bit of range in this song, going into sort of a Painkiller type scream at times. Excellent pre-chorus that builds to an epic sounding chorus, maybe the best song on the album. "Take on the World" is another crushingly heavy song, similar to Anubis. Lots of quick changes, tons of riffs and leads and a great solo.

"Mother Shiptons Words" is speed metal, the vocals are done with conviction. The chorus is a little akward, mainly due to the fact that "mother shiptons words" is just an akward thing to say. But the solo in this one is jaw dropping, skip to 2:50 and check it out. There's also a moment of pure thrash at the very end of the song, good stuff. "Unwelcome Guest" is yet another crushingly heavy song, obviously it's about ghosts, and it does a good job of creating a feeling of paranoia with the wild guitar parts and frantic vocals. Another kick ass solo as well.

It's really hard to pick a best or worst song, all of them are quality. I'm not a big fan of "Life in a Lonely Grave" it's the slowest song on the album, and just plods along, doesn't do much for me, I also find "When the Spirit Rules the World" to be really bland. Those are the only two songs out of 10 I don't care for. But these guys created one hell of an album here, when I started this review I was thinking maybe 80% but after listening to it all the way through for their first time in a while I'll bump that up to a 90 because this is some high quality shit here.

Worthy of praise and an instant CLASSIC! - 99%

ozzeh, May 1st, 2008

Tad Morose features a lot of bad-ass qualities. They're not really power metal, but more classic, speed metal if anything. Their influences range far and wide but they have a streamlined sound which would certainly appeal to anybody who's a fan of older Mercyful Fate or Judas Priest (and if you're not a fan of either, get the fuck out of my review).

Basically, they're a bad-ass heavy metal band who differentiates themselves through awesomeness and quality. By awesomeness, I mean mind-fuckingly intense dual-guitar riffs and insanely competent musicians in every department including heart-wrenching vocals of the non-gay type.

This is from Sweden so you can expect GREAT things... Swedish musicians are simply superior to everyone. Something must be in the water, because Tad Morose certainly crush skulls on a wide-spread level; while it's somewhat accessible to the masses: this release will satisfy every metal-head throughout the world through its' sincerity and heart-felt dedication.

While I prefer brutal death metal vocals accentuated with brutal death metal music, Tad Morose certainly destroy every other clean-sung metal band in recent memory. Power metal fuckin' sux (minus older-style Evergrey) but Tad Morose manages to destroy preconceptions by sheer musical prowess. This will stick to you like peanut-butter on the brain (ala Alice in Chains s/t).

Heaviness overtakes harmony and the end result is pure brilliance: the drumming, vocals, guitar playing, lyrics, and every other element of a classic heavy fucking metal album are present in spades throughout this motherfucker of an LP. This is up to par with Jag Panzer's "Ample Destruction", and it probably exceeds that relatively obscure gem on every level. Worship this new-wave classic metal masterpiece.

A masterpiece! - 95%

Nightrunner, April 27th, 2008

Tad Morose is and has been - since their album “A Mended Rhyme” - one of the best heavy/power metal bands in the recent decade. Since mentioned album they have only done better albums for each time. “Undead” was better and showed a heavier direction, and then came the even greater “Matters Of The Dark”. In 2003 they released this one, Modus Vivendi, which is a album really damn close to perfection. This must surely be remembered as a true classic within the genre when people look back at it years forward in time.

What Tad Morose achieved and succeeded with this album is very rare within the genre they are categorized as. And maybe any genre at all. To create a very consistent album, write absolute fantastic melodies without sounding like a pop band, having an own identity and not sounding like a copy of others, having a phenomenal vocalist and last thing on top having music that rocks your brains out. When all these things, among others too, is combined you get such a fantastic album as this. From the heavy starter “Anubis” to the rocking ender “When The Spirit Rules The World” we’re taken on a much variated musical journey which shows creativity to the max and metal magic. Slower, heavier parts, faster almost thrashy parts, all is a piece of cake for Tad Morose on here and vocalist Urban Breed sounds immortal. He really has a powerful voice and can sing with much variation, and often give you goosebumps with his great screams and voice-adds. For example, his final touches at the end of “Anubis” fits very well and the ending “no, no, no, nooo” screams on “Mother Shipton’s Words” are in world class. Not many power metal vocalists these days could’ve fired off those screams as good I can tell you. Instrumentally, it’s just as great. The other guys in the band sounds tight, and especially Peter Morén does a neat job on the drums playing with much finesse and cool stuff. The production is also great, heavy and groovy sound and Urban’s vocals lies perfect in the mix.

Sadly, Urban Breed left the band before Tad Morose made any new album after this. They haven’t released one for five years now. A shame! They should’ve kept the fire burning and come up with a great follow-up to this one. I think they could’ve done it. But now we still have 4 awesome Tad Morose-albums with Urban on vocals and you will miss something if you do not check them up, and especially “Modus Vivendi”. So of course, this is something that you can buy directly, and with safety. It’s a must if you like heavy metal with touch of the 80’s and for people looking for some great headbangable metal with great melodies. Fans of early Savatage and Metal Church will absolutely dig this.

So a definite masterpiece yes, and then of course also one of the best albums released after the millennium. A modern classic already.

Awesome - 95%

ThySentinel, September 10th, 2005

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.

Explosive, Diverse and Dynamic - 96%

thunderice22, August 26th, 2004

Tad Morose are an excellent power/thrash band from Sweden. Their most recent release is flawlessly executed much to the delight of their fans around the world. This album combines the requisite heavy riffing and melody Tad Morose have become known for. Beautiful passages complimented by Urban Breed's outstanding vocals are very gratifying to hear. His voice provides such catchy hooks it is impossible not to sing along to the song or hum the melodies. Doubled up vocals and superlative choruses are also another highlight and one of the main elements of the album. The songwriting is dynamic as the heading states. Crunchy, melodic guitars and thundering double bass work provide a surreal environment of enjoyment for any true fan of metal. The strikingly heavy rhythms outlined by complex melodies and soaring vocals are inventive if not groundbreaking. Certainly other bands in this genre play similar music; however, none come nearly as close to performing on such an intricate level as Tad Morose. There is honestly not one weak song on this entire disc from beginning to the culmination. Every track can be easily differentiated after several listens and instantly recognizable as a stand out song. More of the usual great cover art as well only adds to the intrigue and appeal. The song Cyberdome is a bit more commercially accessible but still proves to retain a metallic edge. This very song contains an absolutely incredible chorus as well as an overall melancholy, yet somehow uplifting feel. There are not enough adjectives to describe this relentless, powerful metal assault. From the crushing guitars to the heavenly vocal melodies, this album contains all the elements necessary to be a potent and successful force with the other elite names in the field of power metal. An excellent release and recommended to anyone who enjoys Metal Church or any of the quality bands from the '80s and '90s.

One word: wow. - 94%

heavymetalvixen, April 26th, 2004

Yet another great album by Tad Morose. I love the way they mix power and thrash metal. In fact, this album (as well as their previous ones) is basically thrash metal with power metal vocals. I have nothing negative to say about this album; I think it's quite epic in all aspects. Urban Breed's vocals are fucking POWERFUL and add a ton of atmosphere and emotion to every song. The way he holds every note so perfectly just astounds me. Peter Moren does alot of great double bassing and assists the guitars with adding the thrash element to the music; I like how the bassist mimicks him throughout most of the album. There are also quite a few evil and eerie sounding riffs pulled off by the guitarists on this album. There ain't one pussy song on this entire thing. What are you waiting for? Go pick this baby up and BANG YOUR FUCKIN' HEAD!

Best Tracks: Anubis, Afraid To Die, Take On The World, and When The Spirit Rules The World.

Underrated with a big fucking U! - 94%

Demon_of_the_Fall, March 25th, 2004

Until recently I've never considered myself to be a big Tad Morose fan, and I had only heard bits and peices of Matters of the Dark and thought it was rad. I picked Modus Vivendi up without knowing how good or bad it would be, so i really took a chance with this and i'm sure glad I did. Modus Vivendi is a testament to what real metal should sound like. Right from the get-go we are set asunder with a ancient egyptian sounding track titled "Anubis" who if you didn't know is the god of the dead. Next up is NO MERCY, which hints classic metal with the likes of Metal Church, or perhaps Iced Earth at times. It's groovy, catchy and sticks in your head just like the memory of the first time you got a gummer. Afraid to Die is by far the standout track on the disc and is by far my fave TM song of all time. Modus Vivendi has so much atmousphere with class, and Urban Breed pours all of his emotions into every word he sings. He is definatly a contender for having some of the best pipes in metal these days....simply outstanding *hand claps*. All of the tracks on MV are well worth a mention...oh and did i mention that the production is thick and clear...very killer tapestry! This line-up for Tad Morose has had the same members since Undead. The bonus tracks "Rainbow Demon", "Knowing me, Knowing You" , and "losing more than you ever had" are covered so professionally its hard to tell which is better the original or the cover. Basically this album would be enjoyed by any fan of Power Metal or Metal in general. I think this is their greatest record to date and I hope they evolve even more on their next offering. Check this shant dissapoint!

Best Tracks: Anubis, No Mercy, Afraid to Die, Cyberdome, Take on the World, Life in a Lonely Grave, Rainbow Demon