Mad Hatter – Mad Hatter

Rating: 3/5
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Released: 2018
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Band line-up:

Petter Hjerpe – Vocals
Eric Rauti – Lead Guitars
Magnus Skoog – Bass
Alfred Fridhagen – Drums


1. Mad Hatter Shine
2. The Gunslinger
3. Dancing Light
4. Fly Away
5. Go
6. Phantom Riders
7. Face The Truth
8. Vengeance In His Mind
9. Bring Me The Moon
10. Mad Hatter Become
11. BONUS – Death Angel Sings


Mad Hatter are a Swedish power metal band with traditional heavy metal influences. They were created in 2017 by Petter Hjerpe and Alfred Fridhagen, both of Morning Dwell. Following the recording of their full length debut album, also called ‘Mad Hatter’, the two founders were joined by and completed with Magnus Skooh and Eroc Rauti. Consequently, the group were finally stage-ready and they are now planning to bring their energy to the world!

Whilst this music is upbeat and a lot of fun, it sometimes lacks that hard to define spirit of bands like classic Helloween. Songs such as ‘Fly Away’ are a little more exciting than the rest, but are heavier rather than uplifting. Of course that’s no bad thing, but if you’re looking for that relatively non-threatening sound (at least non-threatening compared to similarly speeded genres such as moderate thrash), there are more appropriate bands to check out. However, if you’re after 80s shred pyrotechnics that are actually planned and interesting (in contrast to Yngwie Malmsteen’s wigouts) you will be very pleased. Expect a mixture of sweep picking, speed picking, classic rock licks sped up and all of that stuff. It’s a real treat for the guitarists, out there.

The vocal melodies aren’t bad, but they are mostly standard and relatively basic. They just don’t have the same anthemic power of bands such as Stratovarius. The singing on ‘Phantom Riders’ is more memorable, but it just mimics the guitar riff. Because of the lack of melodic counterpoint, the music is at least partly lacking in depth, there. It’s far from strange, though, and to be fair it does kind of work. The keyboard solo on ‘Riders’ on the other hand IS weird, as it is in the style of 50s rock’n’roll. Can you imagine that genre combined with metal? It’s worth checking out, because you may not hear it, again!

In this album, there are small and occasional issues with melodic repetition. It would be better if certain melodies were lengthened and made more complex rather than them being simple and short, but occasional neoclassical guitar fills in between repeats do help. The feel-good rising key change in ‘Go’ is a simple device, however it’s a useful tool the musicians use to make their sometimes samey material more effective. That’s fine, but its usage is a little bit of a cop out, one could argue. In conclusion, this is fairly good power metal, but it doesn’t really have that special something that makes it addictive to listen to. Those out there who admire classic, advanced musicianship will probably really enjoy it, however. It’s definitely worth at least one listen, if you’re curious!

Review by Simon Wiedemann
Copyright © The Independent Voice 2018