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Madmen and Sinners - Madmen and Sinners CD (album) cover


Madmen and Sinners


Progressive Metal

3.04 | 9 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars I always thought this was a Tim Donahue solo album but according to Real Player and the listing here, he is calling himself and his two guest musicians by the band name Madmen and Sinners and this is their S/T album. Either way, Donahue is the main man here, doing all the writing, producing and engineering, not to mention playing all instruments outside of drums. The calling card is James LaBrie on vocals in an effort to draw attention from the DT crowd. LaBrie previously worked with Henning Pauly on the first Frameshift album, where Pauly also played all the instruments besides drums. Both endeavored to use LaBrie's voice to its fullest and perhaps differently than what he has done in DT. Does Donahue succeed? Well read on.

Donahue's main instrumental talent is playing the fretless guitar. You see quite a bit of fretless bass being played by different bands but the fretless guitar is a bit of a novelty. He starts off in a speed metal vein with it and you think this is just a metal offering but then alternates fast and slow throughout. The fretless really is unique compared to a normal guitar tone and he can really shred on it. There are some real nice solos on display. Synthesizers are used from time to time and lend kind of a Gothic/Gregorian slant as well. There is even some chanting thrown in. The problem lies in lack of melody. I am a big melody guy and here it is mostly just full steam ahead. I think Donahue is caught up in a mini crusade to bring the fretless guitar to the masses and melody gets sacrificed along the way. The guy is obviously very talented and the music has some very good depth and quality to it. The metal is not always crushing, which is good, but it tends to leave you a bit cold in most instances. And LaBrie isn't really able to shine like he did on the Frameshift album. His voice has a bit of a snarl to it in order to fit the music but I don't think this is his strength. Special mention though to the last song, a 16-minute epic and the highlight of the album in my opinion.

I am going to go three stars but more metal leaning folks could bump it a star due to it not being run of the mill in the prog-metal world. And the allure of the fretless guitar may be quite enticing to some as well. I may be being a bit too hard on it because it just doesn't trip my trigger like Frameshift did.

johnobvious | 3/5 |


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