Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mad Hatter's Den: Welcome to the Den (2013)

My knowledge of the stories of Lewis Carroll is very slight.  So I really do not know much about the Mad Hatter.  I saw the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland many years ago and remember very little about it.  I did not see the Tim Burton version with Johnny Depp.  All I think of when I think of the Mad Hatter is the tea party.  So the Mad Hatter does not strike me as a terribly metal character.  Maybe that's just me.  But I was a little apprehensive about checking out a metal band using the Mad Hatter to name their band.

It does not shock me in the least that Mad Hatter's Den plays a kind of middling heavy/power metal.  I could guess that just based on the album cover.  Mad Hatter's Den definitely have some impressive moments, but this album is largely a forgettable standard modern heavy metal album.  The band is definitely at their best when they focus on shorter, harder-edged tracks such as "Shadow Lord".  At those times, Mad Hatter's Den is compelling and fun to listen to.

Then there are the other moments.  Some of the songs in the middle are much longer and much more of a chore to make it through.  "Sinister Monologue" is the metal equivalent to R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" debacle: long, melodramatic, and boring as all hell.  The dueling guitar and keyboard solos are definitely outdated as well.  And then there's the ridiculously slow and boring "Journey" and...holy shit is that a harp?!

Thankfully the band does get back on track to close out the album with some harder songs again.  I like heavy and power metal as much as the next metalhead, but it is a really easy genre to mess up.  Although "Sharks of Power" is one of the oddest song names I have ever heard.  I'm not even sure what that means.

This is listenable, but it is ultimately forgettable.  There is just not much here that really stands out.  And they don't even attempt to tell us the similarities between a raven and a writing desk.  Damn them.  

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