Welcome To The Den

Mad Hatter's Den

Middle of the road musicianship may work in other industries but if you're a Heavy […]
By Angela "The Hunter"
December 2, 2013
Mad Hatter's Den - Welcome To The Den album cover

Middle of the road musicianship may work in other industries but if you're a Heavy Metal band slugging it out with the rest of the new bloods trying to make a name for yourself you'd better be able to deliver the goods. Your music needs to be tight, memorable, and enjoyable for more than one round even if it's your bands very first release. "Welcome To The Den" is an album that, while giving its audience a few shining moments, has little reason to be remembered.

The theatrically inspired intro is an old man offering someone a cup of tea who then burst into maniacal laughter (well someone starts laughing...I have fucking clue who). Things come to a dead halt, and then the title track, "Welcome To The Den", comes to life. Personally I think dragging the maniacal laughter into the title track would have kept the energy going but I digress. The title track is one of those shining moments I previously mentioned with great riffs and broad vocals. The keyboard work is pretty good, rather reminiscent of DEEP PURPLE. Good song, very 80's ish. Then we come to track 2, "Blind Leading the Blind", and that's where things start to get a bit dodgy. "Blind Leading the Blind" is a rather basic track that just exists on the album. The intro is great but the songs' rhythms don't really go anywhere. The song's lyrics, along with the rest album, as a whole are a bit quirky and at times could be mistaken for having religious overtones, but I'll just chalk that up to a translation problem and move along. It's not a bad song but it's just there taking up space. From there we go into "Shadow Lord", a rhythm guitar fest that is great out of the gate but after the intro it loses its luster. The band cites Iron Maiden as an influence and on "Shadow Lord" it can finally be heard, for a moment.

"Sinister Monolog" follows "Shadow Lord", and here we hear another shining moment. Bluesy and groove inspired, its intro has a great grind. Just the intro. The rest of the song is written like a bad 80's song complete with cheesy lyrics and over hyped choruses. This is the kind of music I hear out of local bands that open for equally unimpressive big local bands which are still playing the same local venues 10 years later. Not good.  Next up is "Journey", a ballad that is again, just there. The vocals are a bit too strong and overshadow the intricate guitar leads but really there's just not a lot in the song that inspires much emotion. I don't like it, but I don't hate it either. Thankfully "Legacy Of The Kings" puts some much needed intrigue into this album. The high energy keys and pounding guitar work showcases some serious creativity. But then before you know it, you're back to the same grind. Damn it.

The rest of the album is really more of the same. Great intros, mediocre melodies, and self-serving lyrics. The album's focus is all on the musicians and not on the journey of the songs. For a rating, I would say 5 out of 10.

Until next time, stay well and live free my friends!

5 / 10


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"Welcome To The Den" Track-listing:

1. Introduction
2. Welcome to the Den
3. Blind Leading the Blind
4. Shadow Lord
5. Sinister Dialogue
6. Journey
7. Legacy of the Kings
8. Sharks of Power
9. The Dark Wheel
10. Stone Cold Flame

Mad Hatter's Den Lineup:

Taage Laiho - Vocals
Jaakko Hänninen - Guitar
Kari Korhonen - Guitar
Petja Puumalainen - Keyboards
Harri Hautsalo - Bass / Backing Vocals
Tapio Korkeila - Drums / Backing Vocals

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