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MADMEN AND SINNERS

Progressive Metal • United States


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Madmen and Sinners biography
MADMEN AND SINNERS is a progressive-metal album/project created by jazz/heavy metal guitarist TIM DONAHUE.

After graduating from the Berklee College of Music in 1983 , Donahue designed a a few fretless guitars for his own use, and recorded a jazz album which received great reviews. From this moment on, Donahue would embark on a long career with 5 solo albums under his name.

"With six releases under his belt, Donahue decided it was time to take his music to the next level." Soon after recording "Into The Light" Donahue started writing the material for his new project, a progressive-metal album in the style of DREAM THEATER, with that band's legendary singer, James LaBrie, in mind as a vocalist.

Chance made Donahue meet a friend of LaBrie in 2001. He put the guitarist in touch with the singer. After showing him the material he had written, the singer became very interested in the project. "Guitarist and singer met for the first time in July 2002 to discuss Donahue's musical vision and ideas for Madmen & Sinners."

It was due to LaBrie's suggestions that drummer Mike Mangini was brought into the project. Mangini had worked with the Canadian singer in the latter's MULLMUZZLER albums.

The recording of the album soon followed. According to information released by the guitarist himself, "the year that followed [2003] saw Donahue holed up in his home studio playing and recording all the fretless guitar, bass and synth parts, engineering and mixing the album himself, all while having to deal with a temperamental computer intent on eating precious recorded data at random. Donahue prevailed in the end, coming out of the studio with the best album of his career."

MADMEN AND SINNERS draws heavy influences from DREAM THEATER but also from other bands and styles. The jazz experience that Donahue has surely shows in the album. According to the axe-master: "the melodic ideas have remained rock solid as I first composed them, but the arrangements - Gregorian chants were used extensively to give the music a cathedral-like ambience, for example - and lyrics developed as I lived with the music. It's easily the most technically and musically challenging album I've ever done. As for working with James, I normally work without input from other people, but I fed off of his positive energy. Since I initially wrote the Madmen material with his voice in mind, it was great to have him on board and bring the music to life as I envisioned it...
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3.04 | 7 ratings
Madmen and Sinners
2004

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MADMEN AND SINNERS Reviews


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 Madmen and Sinners by MADMEN AND SINNERS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.04 | 7 ratings

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Madmen and Sinners
Madmen and Sinners Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Madmen and sinners is a project of talented guitarist Tim Donahue who has soome solo albums under his name aswell but with moderate succes to the public . This is his project and not one of his solo album as I seen in many places. Besides him as main composer who plays guitar, bass and keyboards, other two great musicians are invited here, Mike Mangini on drums (ex Annihilator, Steve Vai, Mullmuzzler, etc) and famous James La brie on vocals. Well as I expected the album is guitar oriented with less keyboards inprovizations, is progressive metal but not one very well structured. If wasn't the voice of LaBrie, his name is puted on the front cover very big to see al the people what kind of album is, the music , the arrangements are nothing over the top here, is good with some great moments, but overall something is missing. Even the voice of DT is present, he did a good job but to often is similar with DT (Train of thought era), same roughness in his voice, the melodical lines and vocal arrangements lacks in great variety. The guitar is ok, in places is too forced to show haw great I am, but nothing realy impressive, some good moments on first track Million Miles, excellent arrangements on Morte Et Dabo, brilliant choruses and keyboard arrangemets, the rest are ok, nothing oustanding but enjoyble most of the time. A good debut overall with good and mediocre pieces, melted together brings a good album. 3 stars for this spark in the progressive metal horizon, an album already forgotten by prog metal listners even are only 5 years from first issue and even is one of the best vocalist in prog metal in last 18 years here the album is falling into oblivion quickly.3 stars is best i can give, nothing less, nothing more.

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 Madmen and Sinners by MADMEN AND SINNERS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.04 | 7 ratings

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Madmen and Sinners
Madmen and Sinners Progressive Metal

Review by The T
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A very auspicious debut album that, sadly, never got a follow-up.

Donahue's talents in the guitar are clearly the star of this show. The heavily DREAM THEATER- influenced progressive metal of this project leaves a lot of room for soloing in the 10 tracks that make this album. The music is very entertaning yet not really original, since it borrows from the biggest names in the genre, and it never ventures to more experimental territories. The guitar is the instrument in charge of carrying this album home, as well as LaBrie's excellent vocals, which give this music a strong hint of MULLMUZZLER, the side project that the canadian singer had with musicians like Matt Guillory or Matt Mangini a few years ago.

The emphasis on melody is strong here, though, again, while there are some great hooks here and there, the experience is not satisfactory all the way through. There are some lower points were the album starts to dwell into irrelevance, only to be saved by the mightly fingers of the very skilled guitarist.

MADMEN AND SINNERS could be a welcome addition to any prog-metal fan's collection, though it will not be the most original one. But in the end, the good outweighs the little bad, and the album scores three solid stars from me.

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 Madmen and Sinners by MADMEN AND SINNERS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.04 | 7 ratings

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Madmen and Sinners
Madmen and Sinners Progressive Metal

Review by johnobvious

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.

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