Ever since their beginnings I have been a very big fan of TAD MOROSE and for just as many years they in my opinion are one of those bands that never even remotely received the recognition that they more than would deserve for their releases. In the battle for the crown of Metal capital of Sweden their home town Bollnäs now is one step ahead of Göteborg, because after one (far too long) year, which almost seemed like an eternity, TAD MOROSE are back with their already sixth complete album "Modus Vivendi" and the first thing that strikes is the cover, damn good one by Jan Meininghaus, who already had been responsible for the previous album "Matters Of The Dark", so a good start for sure.
Again recorded in Bollnäs, in Studio Soundcreation, TAD MOROSE still can build on a solid and stable line up with singer extraordinaire Urban Breed and riff master Christer "Krunt" Andersson right in the front, guitarist numero two, Daniel Olsson, plus the tight rhythm section of Anders Modd and Peter Morén. Since their debut "Leaving The Past Behind" 1993 and even more so since the singer change including a certain style correction "A Mended Rhyme" 1997 TAD MOROSE stand for first class Power Metal, somewhere between the American and European school, but absolutely original, how many bands can you really accuse of that anymore nowadays? And that has not changed in the least on "Modus Vivendi" and that is good!
Opener "Anubis" bears some Egyptian sounding melodies in the guitars (surprising with that title, eh?) and even though mid paced bristles with energy and has Krunt's trademark riffing as well as Urban Breed's as usual outstanding vocals, two of the very typical trademarks of the band sound. Urban definitely is one of the best and most original singers of his trade, on "No Mercy" his powerful voice is full of vitality and elevates the song into unthought of heights, a dynamic song, driven forward by heavy guitars and culminating in a catchy and memorable chorus, great! And it gets even better, with the first absolute hammer, titled "Afraid To Die". Intense, heavy, highly melodic, with gripping chorus, brilliant! "Clearly Insane" then adds two bricks, double-bass-driven, with heavy riffing and also in a bit more aggressive regions Urban Breed can fully convince and the chorus is once more incredibly catchy (but never shallow) and gripping, this CD is fun, damn big even!
Then with "Cyberdome" things get semi balladesque, with reduced speed and heaviness and even more emphasis on the melodies, yet still as intense as the songs before. Let's continue with "Take On The World" (I see it coming that I mention every single song, but what should I do?), with great melodies, strong guitars, just as strong drive, incredibly catchy and superb chorus, incredible, live this song should cause inch thick goose bumps! Then, well, then I was in for a big surprise, because the beginning of "Mother Shipton's Words" surely is the most heaviest stuff that TAD MOROSE ever have created! I would honestly rather have expected that from a Thrash Metal band, but TAD MOROSE would not be TAD MOROSE, if they would not have brought those irresistible, melodic parts in between the heavy passages, including a driving and very catchy chorus, which sweeps you off, quite big contrasting program, if you ask me!
Driving, very riffy and melodic is "Unwelcome Guest", which in the chorus reduces speed and heaviness quite a bit, but do not fear, as soon as the verse is nearing again, the track breaks through as in the beginning. "Life In A Lonely Grave" shows us the epic side of TAD MOROSE and is a nod towards the band sound of their early albums, which had been Doom induced, slow-paced with distinct chorus, nice trip back into the own past. Closing "When The Spirits Rule World" is very catchy again, mid-paced with a quite own guitar melody, which somehow reminds me of Egypt, India or something like that.
TAD MOROSE are one of those bands, where I sincerely doubt that they seriously could do a weak album! So far each and every release of them could fully convince and satisfy and ever since they have Urban Breed on board they seem to go from peak to peak and "Modus Vivendi" definitely is not an exception to this. Catchy, but never shallow, heavy, melodic, with an absolutely original sound, without superfluous bombast and blessed with one of the goddamn best singers out there, Urban Breed, the Taddies still are a guarantor for high class Metal, which deserves any attention you can give them! (Online December 19, 2003)