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Deadwood Forest

Crossover Prog

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Deadwood Forest Mellodramatic album cover
3.42 | 40 ratings | 12 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Pioneer (6:48)
2. Yellow Line (1:39)
3. OCD (2:48)
4. King of the Skies (7:31)
5. The City in the Sea (6:26)
6. Dry (7:01)
7. Stolen Smile (5:29)
8. Blue Line (0:51)
9. The Ultraviolence (6:27)
10. Departure (2:35)

Total Time 47:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Ryan Guidry / vocals, guitar, stylophone (1), Glockenspiel (4), Theremin and keyboards (7), SH-101 lead (10)
- Andy McWilliams / drums, programming and guitar (8)
- Kurt Coburn / bass, vocal (10)
- Mitch Mignano / keyboards, guitar (2), guitars (7), all poetry
- Mattias Olsson / additional percussion

Releases information

CD Shroom Productions - SP-2009 (1999, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy DEADWOOD FOREST Mellodramatic Music

DEADWOOD FOREST Mellodramatic ratings distribution

(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DEADWOOD FOREST Mellodramatic reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
4 stars The first thing you hear on this CD when you press play is the sacred sound of Mellotron. Everyone familiar with my reviews knows how much I love this instrument. So what about the music then? Well, it couldn't be much better as it is reminiscent to CATHEDRAL (the American band that recorded the magnificent album "Stained Glass Stories" in 1978), early GENESIS and the Red-era KING CRIMSON. I don't know much about this band, because nothing is said about them on the CD-insert to this Pre Production Demo. I only know that they are from Texas, and they're playing magnificent Mellotron drenched progressive rock, that every fan of Mellotron and the above mentioned bands will love. I hope I'll get the chance to hear the finished production when it's released. Highly recommended!
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars This thing would have everything to please me if that everything did not sound like something else and was borrowed from everybody else. Are you following me? No?!?! Read it again for it does make sense.

Actually every second of this album makes me think of other albums from other artist. This is the first and only flaw I will discuss . In itself , this album has all the cliché and tricks to please an old dog and the younger puppy progheads . Maybe too much...... this is more of a carbon copy to what they think would be the ultimate prog album. But they fotgot to dig into themselves for inspiration.

Review by loserboy
4 stars Every now and then an album comes by which carries a real magnetism for my ears... like "Melodramatic". This album carries goiter-throbbing deep mellotron runs surrounded by some excellent guitar, bass and drum instrumentation. Songs are well written with loads of great character hovering around some wonderful space like atmospheres. Musically these guys move all around the map and cover lots of ground delivering a highly original sound which is solidly progressive. I hear elements of ANGLAGARD, PORCUPINE TREE, RADIOHEAD and even the mighty PINK FLOYD. This is one of those album that the more you listen to the more you fall in love with. This CD has not left my player since I have had it in my grubby little fingers. By the way the album was produced and mixed by ANGLAGARD's Mattias Olsson.

Review by progmonster
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.
Review by erik neuteboom
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!!
Review by Mellotron Storm
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.

Review by ClemofNazareth
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.


Review by NJprogfan
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!
Review by Prog-jester
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!!!

Review by kenethlevine
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.

Review by CCVP
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.

Latest members reviews

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#253450) | Posted by PaulH | Sunday, November 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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