Meduza - Now And Forever
Massacre Records
Neo-Classical Power Metal
11 songs (52'18)
Release year: 2002
Meduza, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Marty
This is the debut full length album by Meduza, who hail from Sweden They play a riff driven guitar soaked style Power Metal, but also mix in some Neo-Classical elements to their sound. This band is the brain child of guitarist Stefan Berg who obviously studied the playing styles of both Yngwie Malmsteen and Ritchie Blackmore as those two guitarists' style and sound can be found sprinkled throughout this whole album. The band has recruited Majestic lead vocalist Apollo, to do the vocals for them. He's going to be a very busy guy now juggling lead vocal responsibilities for both bands. This album was recorded at Andy LaRoque's (King Diamond) studio in Gothenborg, Sweden.

Although this band does use a speedy symphonic approach to some of their songs, the guitar riffing and solos have more of a Deep Purple or Rainbow sound to them with a few even having an Iron Maiden style with the way the riffs are used and the vocal delivery style. Their sound and approach to songwriting really remind me of the classic era of Yngwie's Rising Force (early to mid 1980's) and I even hear some elements from older Queensryche (Queensryche and the Warning albums). A few tracks feature some abrupt tempo changes and stops, ripping into very Yngwie copy-cat guitar and harpsichord speed scale runs. The speediness and classical textures really bring Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica to mind as far as obvious comparisons in sound.

Sleep a power ballad, contains some great expressive leads and Stefan uses some Paganini-like passages to add emotion again, something Yngwie has done many times in the past. Two of the best tracks, Touch The Sky and Land Of Forgotten Dreams feature great Ritchie Blackmore style Deep Purple guitar riffs with organ fills throughout. Land Of Forgotten Dreams has the style and speed of A Light In The Black from the classic Rising album by Rainbow. Twilight Of My Mind, another album highlight, uses a very epic sounding intro and launches into a slower Dio like track with a great main riff. The leads are amazing on this track as well as the vocals. Apollo has a great strong voice and really does a great job on this album. Choruses are rich and textured with lots of background vocal layering.

This is a great sounding band in all aspects. They write catchy tunes with lots of melodic hooks and manage to use all sorts of tempos and styles on this album to create a very diverse collection of songs. Unlike many other bands using classical elements in their music, this band keeps the soloing and technical "showing off" to a minimum. Instead, they take a more song and melody oriented approach to writing their music.

There's a few things that I find wrong with this album. One being that this album doesn't really kick into gear until about half-way through. The first half is O.K., but some of best tracks are found on the last half of the album. I would've mixed up the track order a bit as someone only listening to the first 4 songs won't even hear some of the best ones on the album. A bigger problem is the lack of originality and more than a couple of mediocre songs. Most of their songs are good and are played with amazing technical ability but, they tend to sound a little too much like other bands and really should make an attempt to forge a more unique identity for themselves on future releases. There's so many bands now that sound so much alike that it's becoming more and more important that new bands quickly find a style and sound that is uniquely their own. If not, even though they may have great talent and a great sound, some new bands may just simply slip through the cracks. I would hate to see this band be a victim of that fate.

Killing Songs :
Shed No Tears, Touch The Sky, Twilight Of My Mind and Land Of Forgotten Dreams
Marty quoted 68 / 100
Other albums by Meduza that we have reviewed:
Meduza - Upon The World reviewed by Jason and quoted 69 / 100
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