TAD MOROSE - A MENDED RHYME - BLACK MARK
Hailing from Sweden, Tad Morose is one of Black Mark's older pomp rock bands, having released several keyboard-oriented progressive records in the past three or so years. However, unlike the label's other progressive bands Tad Morose seems to be garnering more and more attention with each release, becoming one of the bigger bands of a genre dominated by the likes of Dream Theater. The current album, although featuring new vocalist Urban Breed, propels the band even further without offering any new surprises or twists. The keyboards of Fredrik Eriksson dominate, while the vocals reach for the higher pitches of the genre. A crystal clear production and a European tour are both working in the band's favour and as a result there is little to stop melodic rock fans from getting themselves a copy. - Ali "The Metallian"
TAD MOROSE - UNDEAD - CENTURY MEDIA
An appropriate album title for a band that has escaped the mess that is Black Mark Production and land on its feet with Century Media. I own several Tad Morose albums (thematically the great cover art work continues here), and I may be wrong about this, but I do not recall the band being this powerful. It might have to do with the ejection of the keyboardist from its ranks, or the signing with a new label; whatever the case, the Swedish power metallers have a good sounding album that picks elements of Metal Church musically and Sanctuary vocally and massages them into its own well-produced mix. Who knows, Tad morose may be able to compete in the heavy/power metal circle for the first time. - Ali "The Metallian"
TAD MOROSE - MATTERS OF THE DARK - CENTURY MEDIA
Tad Morose, Belial bless them, plays heavy metal. Ironically, with Sword Of Retribution, the album kicks off with one of the weaker tracks. The lead practically work rescues the track. Matters Of The Dark features a cool duet with Lefay singer Charles Rytkonen (another former Black Mark act) who sounds like a dead ringer for Jon Oliva. The song itself is pretty Savatagian in nature as well. Ethereal Soul is sharply reminiscent of Sanctuary. The catchy chorus is killer and makes me again wonder where Nevermore went awry. I Know Your Name faces the same challenge as the album opener; the music and singing is nothing particular. In The Shadows is a mid-paced clobber with a hook-laden approach and just that much hint of Dokken. Yet another godly solo streaks through this track. Another Way picks up the pace and riffs hard. One thing these Swedes know is how to get a sharp and clear sound. The vocal harmonies showcase the band's hard work preparing for this album. New Clear Skies is played with a lot of conviction; perhaps more than any other song here and has a whiff of Jag Panzer somewhere within. The oddly-named Riding The Beast is heavy metal all the way and has curious lyrics. Reason Of The Ghost, appropriately, has a doomier feel to it and introduces some intrigue into the mix. The Devil's Finger too has some Black Sabbath in it and the album ends, after 11 songs, with the hook-laden Don't Pray For Me. Six albums into it Tad Morose has come into its own and plays heavy metal with the surefootedness of a veteran.
TAD MOROSE - MODUS VIVENDI - CENTURY MEDIA
Putting together compelling heavy metal albums is a way of life for Tad Morose. On its latest album for Century Media, the Swedish quintet delivers another metal album of solid gold variety. The vocals, in particular, impress being fully in key, in command of the melody and coming with a lot of harmony. The same goes for the backing vocals. The band does need more lead guitars - the band having the benefit of two guitarists within its rank - which is the only major criticism one can level at these guys. Otherwise, the boys have almost banished the keyboards which is almost perfect. Tad Morose delivers the goods on songs like Anubis, No Mercy, the melodic Afraid To Die and many more. It is time to see the group in concert. - Ali "The Metallian"
To say that Tad Morose is a tad under-rated is like saying smoking is detrimental to one's health. When it comes to understatements though, the new album of the Swedish heavy metal connoisseurs would have none of it. The Swedish quintet of Urban Breed (vocals), Christer Andersson and Daniel Olsson (both guitars), Anders Modd (bass) and drummer Peter Moren has issued another splendid album and ensured that 2004 begins on the right footing for fans of both the genre and the band. Singer Urban Breed called Ali "The Metallian" for a chat about the band and the album on the night of his birthday and in the process proved himself to be an intelligent and amiable interview partner. - 15.03.2004
METALLIAN: Thank you for your call, Urban.
URBAN: I had been dialing the wrong number for a while and kept getting a voice mail. Heather at Century Media called and gave me the correct number, otherwise I would have tried that other number a few more times.
METALLIAN: Who knows, you might have reached a delighted heavy metal or Tad Morose fan who would have been ecstatic about receiving a surprise call from the singer of Tad Morose at home!
URBAN: ... or I would have chatted with his mom (laughs)!
METALLIAN: Urban, this is something that needs to be asked and something to which the band might have given some thought. Given the number and quality of Tad Morose's catalogue, why is the band not a bigger name on the metal scene?
URBAN: Unfortunately, I have the answer, I think. The main reason that we have not achieved a bigger following or commercial success is that we don't have management. That is really a shortcoming. If we get a great management deal with a manager it will solve everything.
METALLIAN: What will a manager do that the band currently does not?
URBAN: I am not very good at business. I don't like doing business, getting appointments and booking shows. I like the creative side. I don't like business pretty much. We need someone to do that for us. A good manager has contact with promoters and good public relations and that is what we lack.
METALLIAN: In which case, what is stopping you from hiring a manager?
URBAN: There are many people who get ripped off by managers and in some cases it's justified (laughingly)! On the other hand, it does not matter for it's worth taking that risk. It has taken a while for us to really understand this, but we are really looking for a manager. I just want to write the songs, play live and record the album. Someone has to take care of business.
Right now Christer takes care of business and he is not business-oriented either. He is the least 'not-business' in the band. He is the guy that keeps things together and keeps us organized. I personally prefer not to know what will happen tomorrow. If the guys call and say "we are going on tour tomorrow" then I would be there! Christer likes to know things in advance. Someone has to do the business end of things and I am not that person.
Christer has contacted some people regarding management. Most managers are pretty busy so it is hard to find someone good. The person he has contacted is a good manager for a Swedish band. So far we haven't found one though.
METALLIAN: Are you envious of the bigger bands because occasionally they have had the breaks Tad Morose has not?
URBAN: I don't feel jealousy because I know we mostly have ourselves to blame. We didn't do things the right way. There is no use going around thinking other bands got a break.
We also got off on the wrong foot to begin with - our first albums came out through Black Mark. We didn't learn the business the right way to begin with, whereas now we know that is not the way to do it. Too bad, but maybe we can change things around.
I certainly do hope that we will have management in place by the next album because it wouldn't work otherwise.
METALLIAN: Tell me about the album's title.
URBAN: Modus Vivendi literally translates to mode of life. It reflects on the way Tad Morose is. This album is our 'modus vivendi.' This is our working arrangement within the band. Whenever we are working on an album and whenever we have to make a creative decision we do not agree. We never agree on anything! It is a huge war until we record an album, mix it and it is down at the printers. Then all the arguments stop. Everything is fine when we are on tour. It is great that way because I would hate to have it the other way around.
You name it and we disagree on it in rehearsal and in the studio. We argue that a song is short, we need to remove the third verse and so on. We don't agree on much.
METALLIAN: The album's title was previously announced as Life In A Lonely Grave which ended up being the title of one of the songs.
URBAN: There was not much of a change. Someone asked Christer the title of the forthcoming album and he did not know. He just picked a song that we knew would be on the album and sounded like an album title! That is how it came about. Even then it was made clear that it was a working title.
The song is actually one of those we had a disagreement on. I had cut it down to four minutes, but the rest of the band was going "no, no, no." So I said that if that is the case why not go all out and I added an extra verse to the song and it ended up being over seven minutes.
I added a new verse to the song. It talks about possible events that lead up to this holocaust or apocalypse which, in this case, is the Iraq war and the way US acted like the world police. The Americans said "we can do it so we will do it." Do you know what I mean?
Life In A Lonely Grave actually suggests that kind of a life is not even living. This could be seen from the point-of-view of a nation.That is the people there would say "sure we are kinda living, but we don't govern our own lives here. The US may decide something is not proper and we don't have anything to say about it." That is pretty much where I was coming from.
I don't mention Iraq by name in the song, but the reference is recognizable when I talk about 'land of the free.' That is the kind of a phrase that the Americans would like to tag themselves with. I mean, I don't feel like I am in a prison here in Sweden. I feel pretty free around here - maybe I am even more free than Americans are, who knows? I believe anyone who reads the lyrics will get it - I hope so - but I didn't want to be too obvious about it.
When you think about it, when the US made the decision to go to war, even the Americans themselves were against it! The opinion changed once they got into the war. They thought they are being loyal to their own country.
METALLIAN: A song that is a little different is the melodious Clearly Insane.
URBAN: My wife bought a bunch of Buffy The Vampire Slayer tapes and I got the inspiration to write about vampires and such. That is how it started, but I added a bunch of different topics.
METALLIAN: The intro to the song When The Spirit Rules The World is an intriguing one. Can you talk about it?
URBAN: My daughter helped me out with it. She ran into the barn and brought a bunch of rusty chains and we had a good time recording it here. She had a really good idea and a fresh mind. That's where that comes from.
METALLIAN: Did you record it at your home?
URBAN: Yes, absolutely. Most special effects and backing vocals are recorded pretty much a meter away from where I am sitting now! Somewhere at the end of the song I have some silly Swedish words recorded backwards. As for the thunder and lightning on the song, that was just a coincidence. We had a storm here while I was doing the singing. I had the headphone on and was standing outside and saw this peak on the meter and wondered what it was. That vocal take was being recorded outside on my porch! All of a sudden all hell broke loose.The vocal take was wasted, but I kept the sound of the thunder. All the backing vocals are recorded at home. I record indoors too, but that day was so great that I pulled the microphone out and began recording outside. If I get the occasional leakage or the occasional bird song it does not matter.
METALLIAN: Are you suggesting that if someone listens closely to a Tad Morose album he might hear a bird chirping in the background?
URBAN: Possibly, but I have listened for it and haven't heard it. That type of a sound should have been masked by my noise anyway. I engineer at home. Some of the lead vocals were done at home too, but is nice to have more expensive microphones and equipment in the studio. If they want me to do everything in the studio, they have to give me a better budget (laughs).
METALLIAN: Why did the band record and include cover versions for the album when they are a dime a dozen. Hasn't the time for those antics passed?
URBAN: I hate bonus tracks. I find them loathsome. it was not our decision really. If it were down to me there would never be a bonus track on any album ever. When you write an album, you write the songs you want on the album and then you record them. That would be the album. The songs that are not on the album either didn't reach the same level as the others or they do not fit. Why put a song on an album that should not be there? Bonus tracks, be it cover versions or not, are normally poorer in quality than the other songs on the albums. Naturally, you put the best songs on the proper album. Keep bonus tracks off the album!
Those cover songs were a Century Media decision. It had everything to do with how we had a Canadian release after the European release. They wanted to give those fans the incentive to wait and buy the domestic version. Japanese always get extra songs because imports are much cheaper than Japanese CDs and they need extra tracks, but they always get the leftover tracks as a bonus.
Those particular bonus songs were recorded a long time ago and Century media added them to the album. They were recorded a year and a half ago. Listen to the album and skip those songs or even burn yourself a decent copy by cutting out the cover versions!
Having said that, there was someone who thought the cover versions were better than the Tad Morose songs. So it was good for someone!
METALLIAN: Another interesting topic is your name, Urban Breed. Is it an alias?
URBAN: That is really my name. Some people think that I am someone else. Urban is a fairly common name in Sweden. I know three Urbans myself and Breed is my father's last name, of course. No one would raise an eyebrow about the name in Sweden.
The funny thing is that when we went to London Century media ran a contest and the winner would come to the show and meet us backstage. The question that Century Media asked was 'what is the stage name for the singer for Tad Morose?' I had to wonder how the winners did it, because Urban Breed is my real name. I even had to show the label my passport. Obviously these guys didn't have access to the contract we signed with Century media which is at the head office. Although even some people at the German office don't know that this is my real name.
METALLIAN: Perhaps you can go into merchandising and release a line of sport shoes. Urban Breed would be a hip name nowadays.
URBAN: That would be a great idea. That's true. I should look into that kind of an idea. I will be selling shoes (laughs more).
METALLIAN: Speaking of doing your own thing, how is your solo album coming along?
URBAN: I am seventy-five percent done. I am polishing the songs really. I am trying to bring in more people and write extra verses. The best way to do it in Europe is to not do it in Europe. If one can get signed to a Japanese label, they are only interested in the Japanese market, you will get the album done and then license it for elsewhere. They only release it in Japan, but they pretty much pay for the studio. Everyone should contact a Japanese label first.
Urban Breed and I spoke longer and into the Swedish midnight about Deep Purple, Yes, the merits of different Dio albums and other miscellaneous topics. Urban and the band are looking to find some tours and get on the road, but fans should log on to www.tadmorose.com in the meanwhile for the latest information. Urban's own website is at www.urbanbreed.net. Now go check out the band's new album.