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DEADWOOD FOREST

Crossover Prog • United States


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Deadwood Forest biography
This is a four piece band from the USA featuring multi-instrumentalist Ryan Guidry (vocals, guitar, Theremin, glockenspiel, stylophone), Andy McWilliams (drums), Kurt Coburn (bass) and Mitch Mignano (keyboards). In '99 DEADWOOD FOREST delivered a stunning second CD entitled "Mellodramatic". What's in a name? Well, the music is loaded with Mellotron (flute, violin and choir) and the climates are quite dramatic! The ten very alternating compositions sound like a 'progrock-stew', containing elements from KING CRIMSON, UK, THE MOODY BLUES and YES. Unfortunately this promising progrock band has disappeared from the scene, I presume.

The album "Mellodramatic" from DEADWOOD FOREST is an interesting musical experience. Almost every song has surprising breaks or changing moods: from dreamy with majestic Mellotron waves (like early KING CRIMSON) to propulsive with powerful drums and biting FRIPPERIAN guitarplay, from interludes with bombastic keyboards (like YES or KANSAS) to catchy with warm vocals and acoustic guitar like THE MOODY BLUES. And some tracks have a wonderful romantic atmosphere, emphasized by tons of "Trons"!

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Deadwood ForestDeadwood Forest
Self-Produced
Audio CD$22.67
MellodramaticMellodramatic
Self-Produced
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$9.99 (used)

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DEADWOOD FOREST discography


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DEADWOOD FOREST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.92 | 6 ratings
Deadwood Forest
1997
3.40 | 30 ratings
Mellodramatic
2000

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DEADWOOD FOREST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Deadwood Forest  by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.92 | 6 ratings

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Deadwood Forest
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The revival of Progressive Rock in the 90's gave birth to many fantastic bands along with some less-known ones and Austin-based US act Deadwood Forest can certainly be listed in the second category.Found sometime in the 90's the band featured Ryan Guidry on vocals/guitar/glockenspiel/stylophone, Andy McWilliams on drums, Kurt Coburn on bass) and Mitch Mignano keyboards.They self-recorded their self-titled debut in 1997 at Lee College in Baytown and released privately the same year.

While the overall atmosphere has a strong American flavor, mainly due to the vocals and some country-inspired acoustic material, Deadwood Forest had some interesting ideas strongly influenced by the likes of YES, GENESIS, BRACLAY JAMES HARVEST and KANSAS, eventually coming up often with a typical US prog sound along the lines of DISCIPLINE, SPOCK'S BEARD, EPISODE or FARPOINT.The album contains fifteen tracks somewhere between modern rock aesthetics and vintage-inspired Classic Prog, where the crunchy guitars and acoustic passages of Guidry meets the heavy Mellotron and Hammong organs of Mitch Mignano.The result is some mid-length compositions with interesting arrangements, where modern meets old, complexity meets atmosphere and heaviness meets softness.Especially the Mellotron parts of Mignano are absolutely magnificent, often supported by the CHRIS SQUIRE-like bass playing of Coburn and the fine alternation between acoustic and electric leads of Guidry.The album is highlighted by the closing 15-min. epic song ''Vital commentary'', which has a strong SPOCK'S BEARD influence, featuring nice changes between dramatic and relaxing performances, interesting solos, massive Mellotron and organ waves and expressive vocals.

Good but not very easy to find stuff along the lines of SPOCK'S BEARD with both analong and modern equipment used and interesting material contained if you love Classic Prog.Search around the best internet prog music stores, as the album is warmly recommended.

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 Mellodramatic by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.40 | 30 ratings

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Mellodramatic
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

4 stars So, they play the mellotron in this album, right?

Mellodramatic was one those albums that I had no expectations whatsoever about. I got it for free, because it was part of a promotion from one of my favorite CD stores (one of those in purchases over X we will give you an extra something! kind of promotions), and every option that was available was an unknown or obscure band, so I just picked this particular CD at random and, I must say, it was a big surprise when I was finally able to see (or listen, actually) how good this album is. Soon after fully listening the album, I checked ProgArchives to see more about Deadwood Forrest and had an even bigger surprise seeing how low Mellodramatic's rating is! It is completely out of reality and does not reflect the actual quality of the album at all!

I did not have the opportunity to listen to Deadwood Forrest's self-titled debut album, but Mellodramatic has little or no relation with the genre the band is kept in (crossover prog) because, just like some other reviewers before me pointed out, this album has its influence rooted in the symphonic part of retro prog, going from early King Crimson (up Circus album, foremost), Änglagard, post-Meddle / Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd (the period when Pink Floyd added symphonic influence in their music), ELP (in a minor degree) to Moody Blues. Yes, It has that much mellotron, and then some! The broad and deliberate usage of mellotrons throughout the album create a moody, spacy or groovy feeling in most of it that recall some songs such as In the Court of the Crimson King, Nights in White Satin and Echoes. Although not sounding similar to said songs, the album tries to recreate an atmosphere similar of what we have on those songs from time to time.

Besides giving away the huge role the mellotrons play here, the title of this album also shows much of the directions the band takes in Mellodramatic: the band rely heavily on emotion to make their music. The constant crescendos and decrescendos and the timbre used by the band on the mellotron and guitars, mainly, contribute the most for that emotional discharge.

Although having many positive attributes, the second album released by Deadwood Forrest is clearly not perfect. Firstly, the music, though being very good and interesting, is not what we can call extraordinary. Secondly, the band obviously was unable to use good recording facilities and recording material, such as tapes and microphones. In various parts of the album, those limitations can be clearly seen through the (somehow) sub-par sound quality (the music sounds muffled) and the limitations regarding louder vocals (what happens in the song OCD, for example). Those limitations, however, do not keep the album from being enjoyable and the music from being very good.

The highlights go to the whole album, because it seems to be conceived as one piece.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Mellodramatic is one great album if you like moody and spacy tunes. It is a great feast of music filled with emotion and feeling: just give it a spin and go with the flow! 4 stars due to the incredible atmosphere made by the band and creative use of such a quintessential instrument of progressive rock.

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 Mellodramatic by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.40 | 30 ratings

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Mellodramatic
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by 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.

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 Mellodramatic by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.40 | 30 ratings

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Mellodramatic
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars While the mellotron is the quintessential prog instrument, and many British and European bands have dedicated albums to its rather direct pleasures, sometimes it seems like the poor tron never learned to swim, and could not cross the Atlantic. In America, relatively few bands bolstered their sound with mellotron, let alone dedicated whole albums to singing its praises. Yet here we have not only an American mellotron album but one named for said instrument hailing from the veritable prog coldbed of Texas. Whole melodies are played on mellotron, which alot of prog bands seem to forget is possible.

The sound on Mellodramatic is most reminiscent of King Crimson (any 70s KC) with plenty of Anglagard thrown in. Also, some Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, ELP (when the organ takes over) and various proto prog influences can be discerned. It certainly cannot be argued that this is original music, but it does try to be, and succeeds in being pretty entertaining in the process, and that counts for something. One flaw is that it is skewed a bit too much to the instrumental side, especially later on, which makes it seem that the group had a few big ideas and then filled out the album with jamming from there. "The Pioneer" , "King of The Skies" and "The City and the Sea" demonstrate the best of the group. The latter contains a monster sequence that is so familiar sounding, and the music is not credited to any band member, so perhaps it does belong to someone else. I keep coming up Fleetwood Mac or Foreigner when I try hard to figure it out, so I guess it's back to the drawing board!

So a pretty decent album by an inexperienced but skilled group that needs to develop a bit more of its own sound, assuming it is not already dead wood.

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 Mellodramatic by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.40 | 30 ratings

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Mellodramatic
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is RETRO-PROG in deepest sense of the word. First of all, here we have LOADS of Mellotron - forget SPRING, MOODY BLUES and ANEKDOTEN! It seems these guys have trons everywhere, they sleep on trons, they eat on trons, they drive trons!!! The second positive thing is that Spirit of the Past - think of another great Retro-band BIGELF to understand me. DEADWOOD FOREST nither follow epic rules nor composing short Proto-Prog-like songs. Their tracks are average in timing (from 0'50" to 7'30"), but you never can tell whether they are epics or not. They begin with one theme, than switch into another one and develop it into something unperdictable. Yes, we had loads of examples of short epics' Art already (from early MARILLION to Modern Prog like PT), but this band bears label of experimentalism and discovery - just like back in 67-73, where you could mix Sympho with Hard and Psychedelia and Folk and enjoy it!!!

My only complaint - hence, 4 stars - that album is not enough catchy. Surely, it's no way a flaw - this even makes it more worthy among Progheads. But it means thata everytime you listen to it, you must listen the WHOLE THING to like it (personally I choose to listen few ANEKDOTEN-like instrumentals from it ... from time to time). Highly recommended!!!

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 Mellodramatic by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.40 | 30 ratings

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Mellodramatic
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by NJprogfan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I guess the title of the album is a sort of play on words, because the wonderful Mellotron is played throughout the album. Taken for what it is, a rich display of prog influences, the band nevertheless are modern sounding and delightfully indie. They kinda remind me of another indie/prog band, The Space Needle. Right from the start, you get an earful of Mellotron with Andy McWilliams drums way up front. In fact it's up front for most of the album. Very cool! They're very Crimso but never copycatish. They do have their own take on the early 70's sound. It's not until the achingly beautiful guitar melody on the instrumental track "The City In The Sea" do I hear a near classic. The guitar lick just sticks in your brain for days. It's a winner! But wait! The next track "Dry" starts like a lost Pink Floyd era '69 ditty. Guidry's guitar is straight from the Gilmour school. And his vocals are Gilmourish, too. Yet, half way in comes one of the best Mellotron passages of the modern era. I mean it's breathtaking. Mignano places his Mellotron melodies in just the right spots and at just the right key. "Dry" is one of my favorite prog songs from the 00's. I must admit though, the band at this point is all over the map with no personality. But who cares. They have a different take on classic prog taking all their influences and twisting them into an indie type of groove, (check out the 8th track, very hip hoppish beat). Come on guys, get back together. The prog world needs more guys who like to take the 70's stale, moldy and done-to-death sound and mix it up with a modern slant. I'll be first in line!

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 Mellodramatic by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.40 | 30 ratings

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Mellodramatic
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars Not sure why, but I seem to have happened upon a string of sub-par albums lately. Kind of a bummer - this is another one. The connection to Änglagård was promising, but that's not what these guys sound like. They're sort of a throwback band, and not a particularly inspiring one at that. The Tangent got a bit of a rap for their retro- derivative sound on 'A Place in the Queue', but at least in their case they put a lot of energy into it, and the similarities to some of the progressive rock giants was intentional and reverent. For Deadwood Forest the similarities seem more like mimicking, not giving props to the great ones.

On the up side, there's a ton of mellotron on this album, and that has to be considered a good thing. Musically the band sounds an awful lot like the semi-legendary Spring, especially on Yellow Line, except that the vocals are a bit better articulated (although strained).

"King of the Skies" is one of the better tunes here, even if the 'tron smacks a bit of Gentle Giant with hippy cum pop-tinged vocals. This is actually a decent tune, although not enough so to bother getting into the lyrics to figure out what it's about. Oh well. And there's a weird mellotron progression in the middle that sounds a bit off-key before fading into a too-short acoustic guitar bit. Not sure these guys put a whole lot of effort into these arrangements.

The other slightly interesting piece follows 'King', "The City in the Sea", with what I believe is a glockenspiel or something in a short but very unusual percussion sequence that manages to find its way into the rhythm somehow, almost as if it were planned that way (and I suppose it was). Also the guitars and flute (or maybe recorder) give this track some variety and accent the heavy mellotron quite well. This is an instrumental, and makes me wonder if the band might have been better off copping that influence from Änglagård and keeping their vocals to a minimum, since it isn't particularly good singing anyway.

"Dry" starts off well, but seems to lose focus after about 2-1/2 minutes and ends up being a rather tedious and wandering, gloomy thing that sounds more like seventies acid folk than a twenty-first century band. "Stolen Smile" on the other hand has a decidedly early nineties vibe to it, particularly the drums and strident keyboards. This is also an instrumental, more along the lines of a hopped-up latter Explosions in the Sky recording, or maybe Godspeed without the attitude or sense of style.

The rest of the album is throwback seventies or very early eighties sounding, ranging from off-key Deep Purple to low-brow Zappa to Americanized King Crimson. Nothing to get excited about for sure, although "The Ultraviolence" has some decent keyboard work and the guitar isn't half-bad either. No sense of direction though.

This band never seemed to find any kind of identity to call its own, and as far as I know they never will since I believe they broke up a few years ago. They're decent enough musicians, and the number of styles they ripped off indicate they were students of progressive music at least, just not very ambitious ones.

I've also heard their debut, and it's even worse - mostly a bunch of seemingly half- finished vignettes. On this (their second and final album) they at least managed to finish some thoughts and put together whole works. They're just nothing to make them stand out. I'd like to give this three stars just because they seem to be good musicians, but I can't say this is actually a 'good' album, so two stars it is. Not particularly recommended unless you just like collecting obscure stuff that features mellotron, regardless of the quality.

peace

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 Mellodramatic by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.40 | 30 ratings

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Mellodramatic
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars You know your in for a listening experience when one of the first things you hear on the first song "The Pioneer" is mellotron. Of course on this particular record your going to hear it on every song ! There is a definite ANGLAGARD vibe on this album that was actually produced by Mattias Olsson, former drummer for ANGLAGARD, who also gets on the drum kit himself for this recording !

"The Pioneer" has a real folk sound to it, maybe not so surprising considering the song title. "King Of The Skies" also has a folk and ANGLAGARD sound to it with some nice riffs. I like "The City In The Sea". It has this acoustic line, over and over again for a minute, then things pick up and intensify as drums and organ are added. Back and forth. It's great.

My favourite song though is "Dry" I love the way it builds then just stops then amazing vocals come through. "Stolen Smile" is a rather heavy instrumental, beginning with dominating drums. Then there is a quiet interlude with accoustic guitar and mellotron, then a little guitar line is done over and over until the drums and mellotron come in and it's heavy again. "The Ultraviolence" is the closest they get to the ANGLAGARD sound. There is some creepy, weird sampling in the middle of this one as well.

This for me is a definite winner. 4 solid stars for this mellotron classic.

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 Mellodramatic by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.40 | 30 ratings

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Mellodramatic
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars What an exciting CD, so varied and very pleasant loaded with The Mighy Tron! The first time I listened to it, I was almost confused because of the many different climates and shifting moods. On one hand this is a very original album because it contains so much variety, on the other hand the echoes from progrock legends are too obvious. If you don't mind about that, there's plenty to enjoy: from complex and virtuosic play in the vein of King Crimson and Yes to melodic and mellow prog with strong hints from The Moody Blues. The musicians are good, the compositions are strong and alternating and the music is loaded with Mellotron, ENOUGH REASON TO GIVE THIS ALBUM A CHANCE!!


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 Mellodramatic by DEADWOOD FOREST album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.40 | 30 ratings

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Mellodramatic
Deadwood Forest Crossover Prog

Review by progmonster
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The album didn't need a sticker ; before it's release, anyone knowed that Mattias Olsson, Anglagärd's drummer extraordinaire, was behind the producing desk for this album. The wait might have disappointed some people, but "Mellodramatic" is a worthy "retro prog" album, full of good intentions plus a very strong melodic feel. Listen to "King of the Skies" ; Deadwood Forest achieved a virtual encounter between Phil Collins and post-Roger Waters' Pink Floyd. The result is so convincing that it makes us wonder how the ones concerned never actually did it (as they are both driven by the same interest, and i'm not talking about artistic accomplishment here) ! Anyway, i think that if you're not that receptive to mellow songs, you should avoid this one.

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