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TIM DONAHUE ‘Madmen & Sinners ’
(Frontiers FRCD185)(2004)

Guitarist Tim Donahue (who also produces the album & handles bass/keys duties) has got Dream Theater’s vocalist James LaBrie on board for this album. The only other musician on here is former Annihilator/Extreme drummer Mike Mangini, who pounds away like a good ‘un.

‘Million Miles’ lays out the musical style on here, classy progressive metal (Donahue excels at laying down crunching riffs) featuring plenty of keyboard flourishes and of course LaBrie’s extensive vocal talents. ‘Let Go’ is a gentle piano led number and again finds LaBrie on fine form. There is Gregorian chants on ‘Morte et Dabo’ which leads into the epic ‘Children of the Flame’, a brooding number that gets light relief with the spoken word of ‘Beam me up Scotty’ (one for ‘Star Trek’ fans out there). ‘The End’ has a lovely chugging riff (like a prog metal Sabbath) and soaring vocals by the chorus line - it doesn’t get much better than this!

The fifteen minutes plus of ‘Madmen and Sinners’ closes it all in fine style with the time changes and instrumental passages you’d expect from such a track. Donahue’s guitar takes on the SFX style of Ayreon on this album, in fact fans of Ayreon will thoroughly enjoy this release. Lyrically the song covers many bases including a passage about the author Salman Rushdie and his effect on religions.

Another fine release from Frontiers and one to add to the collection of any self-respecting prog metal fan. Hopefully Donahue & LaBrie will work together again in the future.

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Review by Jason Ritchie

Buy this CD

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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