CULLOODEN – Silent Scream (2014)
From southern Sweden, CULLOODEN has been working on their debut album “Silent Scream” with producer Anders Theo Theander since two years ago. Formed by Fredrik Joakimsson (Vocals, Guitars), lead guitarist Jonas Ekestubbe, Michael Södergren (Bass) and Theander also providing the drums (he is a skilled player), the guys have delivered a kickin’ modern melodic progressive metal album here.
The music of Cullooden is quite aggressive, but excepting the basic metallized foundation, the other elements are somewhat nuanced, and as said, really, really melodic. The modern approach comes from the more assertive heaviness without sounding coarse, while the prog edge is subtle as shifts in tempo and signatures so well blended into the song structures to develop with a degree of ease and surprise.
“Embrace Your Destiny” is a good example of this when it shifts gears about the two-third mark with a groove heavy, guitar ripping, instrumental section.
If there are a handful of tracks on this album that would indisputably be considered prog metal, it would be the opening track “Heaven Feels so Hollow” which starts just like a Fates Warning song, and plays just like one, but rife with many catchy hooks typical of Hard Rock, especially in the infectious chorus.
Further along is “Endless Tears”, which happens to contain memorable nuances and classy arrangements reminiscent of Circus Maximus, excellent vocals in the Seventh Wonder style and thought-provoking lyrics. This song is true progressive metal.
“The Progress” is quite different to anything heard so far, and takes a much more groove-driven approach to the riff work which, overlaid by soaring vocal melodies, makes for a powerful and emotional listening experience. In parts, Fredrik switches from the masterful grasp of vocal melody that he has proved to have to an effective aggressive approach.
One of the highlights is “Star Of The Night”. The opening keyboards and guitar melody is beautiful and catchy, with elaborated vocal parts and busy instrumentation.
And if you’re a fan of lead guitar solos, “Silent Scream” has bunches of them. Delivered by Jonas Ekestubbe, they are quite innovative and entertaining throughout. But his guitar structure is quite lethal over all, often setting the tone of songs at the start as with “Our Only Desire”. It starts with some delicate guitar play leading to a rather steady unswerving arrangement, until he rips of his lead.
Cullooden’s “Silent Scream” is definitely packed with really good sounds making for a creative and entertaining listen, clearly prog metal oriented but with many refreshing twists, lots of melody and attractive riffs.
Apart from the aforementioned bands cited as influence, Cullooden’s style reminds me of another great Swedish band: do you remember A.C.T’s and their very good CD Today’s Report (1999)? Well, Cullooden sound a lot like them in their more melodic moments.
Cullooden’s “Silent Scream” launches the prog metal year 2014 with a record that sets the bar high for other bands of the genre to follow.
01 – Heaven Feels So Hollow
02 – Drowning in Silence
03 – Endless Tears
04 – Embrace Your Destiny
05 – Our Only Desire
06 – The Progress
07 – Take Hold Of Your Fear
08 – An Interesting Fact
09 – Welcome To Wonderland
10 – Star Of The Night
Fredrik Joakimsson – Vocals, Guitars
Jonas Ekestubbe – Guitar
Michael Södergren – Bass
Anders Theo Theander – Drums, Production
BUY IT !