Simply wonderful and an essential purchase recommendation.
This is another combo from Finland featuring a female vocalist. The lady in question is Heidi Bergbacka and she has a wonderful, passionate and crystal clear delivery that really carries the excellent songs on this album to another level. I’ve noted her voice being compared with those of Agnes Pilhava and Tone Norum, although for my money there is more than a passing resemblance to that of Marie Fredricksson (Roxette), particularly on the catchy ‘Torn’, the classic Deep Purple-redolent ‘Ain’t No Angel’ with its jaunty Hammond organ riffs courtesy of Turkka Vuorinen, and the simply magnificent and atmospheric ‘Victims Of The Moon’, a slow-burning number (and sad love song) that not only demonstrates what an accomplished band MoonMadness is, but especially emphasizes the quality of the arrangements present throughout the album. It is also one of many tracks that showcases the talented and accomplished guitarist Otto Hallamaa.
The album has a hard rocking focus with a variety of stylistic influences and especially the 70s and 80s period of classic rock, and this has then been honed with the addition of a contemporary feel and metallic sheen. There is a cohesiveness and yet beguiling variety to what is on offer from the band from Tampere. The album kicks off in fine style with a short instrumental passage that leads straight into ‘Stroke Of Midnight’ an up-tempo song that is then eclipsed by the urgent staccato of ‘Shot Through The Wing’. ‘Torn’ follows, while ‘Before It’s Too Late’ and ‘Too Much To Lose’ are both great punchy mid-tempo numbers with similar episodic structures emphasizing different elements: piano and guitar in the former, various time changes and vocal and instrumental intensities in the latter. Both are very effective. Two contrasting songs close the album: firstly the frenetic and metallic ‘Thunder’ – and featuring a fine chorus and an interesting guitar/synthesizer interplay; then finally there’s ‘On The Edge Of Madness’ which provides a dalliance with prog rock in its less conventional stylings. This is the least immediate song on the album, but does become particularly compelling after several listens. I love the sudden ending!
This is an album that avoids bombast and overblown and unnecessary elements. Featuring great sound and production values and superb arrangements: this is a winning combination and makes for a remarkable debut album that has taken my breath away! So, it’s something old, something new…and all in between! Simply: wonderful…. and is an essential purchase recommendation from me!
Paul Jerome Smith