Mad Hatter

Sometimes I find myself needing a break from Death Metal, Black Metal, and those related sub-genres and I look for something heavy, but different. So the other day I went down a Helloween rabbit hole, Keeper of the Seven Keys 1&2, Walls of Jericho; those are two prime examples of precision German Power Metal, while some might be so bold as to say that Helloween invented the genre; I feel like that could be a valid argument.

I’m not here to talk about Helloween, I’m here to talk about Mad Hatter and their brand spanking new album Oneironautics. It was recommended by one of my fellow scribes and I assure you that after listening to blasting, blasting, blergh, blergh it’s refreshing to hear clean, powerful vocals. I can also assure you that this is 100% pure SWEDISH POWER METAL! Okay, I’ll settle down, but just a little bit. Ohm…

What we have here are ten tracks of bat-shit crazy, incredibly enjoyable Power Metal: Dragons, Witches and “fighting the fighters!” it starts with the psychotic instrumental title track that acts like a gathered Elven army about to fuck shit up. It barrels into “Lord of Dragons”. This is where the aforementioned chorus comes from “We will fight the Dragon Lord supreeeeeeme!” it’s a rousing song that demands headbanging. A balancing of Helloween and Gamma Ray (even if they are technically the same band… just saying.) But they’re German and Mad Hatter is Swedish and so there are some Hammerfall style flag waving choruses thrown in for good measure.

“Death in Wonderland” and “I Will Find My Way” are both raging double bass-fueled bangers, with solos that reach to the Pillars of Creation and dive bomb into the ocean depths. Sanguine riffs that get you wet from the blood splashing from your enemies.

But then there’s my favorite song, a bonkers bouncy castle of fun that comes in the package of “The Witches of Blue Hill” it swings like a corpse in a gibbet with the frenetic finger-breaking riffs and possibly the most polka-ish polka that ever was in the middle of a song, let alone a Power Metal song, and I fucking love it. It has moxie and tons of heart and compliments “Our Fears in Towe” which is a not quite ballad, just decidedly slower than the songs around it. It has some huge riffs and is one of those festival songs where the crowd knows every word and the girls are free with their booby flashing.

Production is top-notch letting each instrument shine without being overpowering. “Lost in Wonder” is another sort of reflection pool track not quite a ballad but not a full-throttle scorcher, that’s reserved for “The King’s Guide” galloping towards the “Temple of Time” a Kamelot-style rumbler with guitar histrionics galore, and it all culminates with final track “Fire in My Heart” a nuclear powered send off with a hell for leather, racing guitar riffs and more of those by now patented solos where your heart just soars.

Oneironautics is a perfect summer album, it has so much hope and heart and insanely fun moments going on that fans of Helloween, Kamelot, and  Hammerfall will feel right at home. I recommend this for your next D&D session or dragon attack on a helpless village. Whichever comes first.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
July 10th, 2024


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