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Deadwood Forest - Mellodramatic CD (album) cover

MELLODRAMATIC

Deadwood Forest

 

Crossover Prog

3.41 | 38 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

PaulH
4 stars To explain why I think Mellodramatic is a gem, we'll have to take a step back from the way many of us prog heads might view progressive music.

In the new millennium, we've seen rock music move from alternative into indie rock, with an emphasis on stripped-down arrangements and a more raw feel. It would seem indie is the antithesis of progressive, but yet here we find Deadwood Forest melding the two. This is exactly why I find this album so interesting - it's "indie progressive" (or "progressive indie," take your pick ;-).

Overall, as I mentioned this album presents indie-flavored stripped-down arrangements. You won't find countless layers of tracks, although the keyboards get a little densely layered in a few places, nor anything particularly complex or virtuosic with any given instrument. Most of the melody lines are pretty straightforward, but very tasty, and the harmonies are pretty standard for rock music - not much of anything jazzy or avant to be found.

Where the complexity, and what I would call prog-ness, creeps in is in the rhythms and the changing nature of the compositions. There are plenty of syncopated rhythms and non-standard time signatures, and the songs definitely go somewhere as most of them change fairly often and sometimes quite dramatically. This stuff definitely keeps my interest and I find it holds up with repeated listening, which kind of surprised me at first given the more stripped-down arrangements. The songs more than make up for that.

Despite the restraint on the complexity of the arrangements, there is nevertheless a rich blend of keyboards, guitars, bass and drums. Given the title, it's no surprise that there are tons of tasty Mellotron. If you're an aficionado of trons, stop now and go get this album. But that's not all - the trons are supplemented by a variety of vintage keys, especially some real nice vintage organ. The guitars, bass and drums are fairly simple but very tight, and these guys overall produce some very nice work. The vocals have that contemporary indie flavor to them - a bit droning at times - and there's certainly no aspirations to an Idol-like performance here, which is not a problem for me.

The sound quality is very good, and every track can be clearly heard. I recommend giving it a spin in some decent headphones, and you'll hear some layers that aren't as obvious at first. Unfortunately, the CD mastering is too hot, clipping off a lot of peaks, but a gentle pass through SeeDeClip Pro restored the clarity and dynamics.

So, maybe if you're a real hard-core symphonic fan, this might be a little simplistic for your tastes. If you tend to also like some of the better modern indie rock, I think you may find this a very pleasant surprise. As I said, if you're a Mellotron fan, this is a must have for the collection.

I almost wanted to give this a 5 star rating, under the reasoning that it represents a definitive work of blending modern indie rock with progressive. But I'm not sure it qualifies as a "masterpiece," so I'll leave it as an essential addition to a well-rounded prog collection. Perhaps 4.5 stars, rounded down.

PaulH | 4/5 |

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