Mike Prete    07-September-2001 Mellodramatic

A recent discovery from Texas, Deadwood Forest follows the similar mold of many prog bands today; the retro 70s sound. Unlike most of these bands, Deadwood Forest pulls this off quite admirably. A melding of various influences, including King Crimson and typical 70s symphonic such as Genesis, these sounds are brought together to form a hybrid that evokes the Moody Blues in the vocal songs and Anglagard in the instrumentals (not surprising, as former Anglagard drummer Matthias Olsson is the producer here). The combination works; an even amount of mellotron drenched vocal tracks interspersed with raw instrumental power.

"The Pioneer" provides a rather auspicious beginning, starting with a rather annoying and repetitive drum beat, and is the most simplistic song on the album. Fortunately, it gets better from there. "King of the Skies" is one of the best examples of the meshing of styles here, a typical prog song with extended instrumental bits. This is one of the pieces that most brings to mind Anglagard, with fierce riffs contrasting with lush mellotron. "The City in the Sea" follows a similar pattern. "Stolen Smile" is a heavy instrumental, recalling the dark influence of King Crimson via Anglagard.

While not the most original thing to come along, Melodramatic is a solid outing of new symphonic rock with a retro slant. The biggest criticism here is that the band takes its influences from some premier bands, but lacks material of their own that really stands out. It will be interesting to see where the band goes from here.

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