Forgotten Gems: Madison-Diamond Mistress
You'll have to forgive me, but I haven't the foggiest idea when or even how this CD ended up in my collection. It just so happened that one day while I was looking for another album to cover for "Forgotten Gems" I came across "Diamond Mistress". Oddly enough the other release that I was looking for (which has now slipped my mind) was from a band from Sweden. Well, maybe that isn't all that odd as Sweden has produced scores of great bands and (indirectly) albums that are worthy of being called gems. But, that's neither here nor there and right now we're talking about the group Madison and this release which was their 1984 debut album. Originally this album was released on Rixi and unlike a lot of other bands that we've covered in "Forgotten Gems" the band Madison released more material after this. The band, which was formed in 1983 when two other acts (Regent and Destiny) merged together, was fronted by well-known Swedish vocalist Göran Edman. Besides fronting Madison on both of their full-length albums (the other one being 1986's "Best In Show") Göran Edman played with Yngwie Malmsteen, Headless, Jayce Landberg, Richard Andersson, Shadrane, Signum Regis, Time Requiem, John Norum, Street Talk, Kharma, Crossfade (EU), XsavioR, Johansson, Mårran, Vindictiv, Brazen Abbot, Karmakanic and Vinnie Vincent Invasion. That's some track record right? While with Madison Göran sounded great. Or at least on their debut album as that seems to be as far as I've gotten with this Swedish heavy metal band. Of course if you've ever heard him sing on any of the countless other albums that he has contributed to then you'll already be familiar with his powerful set of lungs. If not though then this album is as good a place to start as ever as he sounds killer here! In addition to lead vocalist Göran the band featured future Swedish Erotica member Danne "Dan" Stomberg (who wrote most of the music on "Diamond Mistress" album) on guitars as well as guitarist/backing vocalist Anders Karlson, bassist/backing vocalist Conny Sundquist and drummer/backing vocalist Peter Fredrickson. On "Diamond Mistress", which keep in mind was released in 1983, there are a few ballads ("Pictures Return" and "Changes". Neither of which threaten to ruin the party or anything by the way), but otherwise this is easily one of the better (unknown) examples of early heavy metal in all of it's beautiful glory! Helping that argument out is one of the finer opening cuts that you could ever hope to have on an album, "Lay Down Your Arms"! This is classic heavy metal in it's purest form and from the album's opener we are treated to an album that moves along at a brisk pace all while reminding listeners why it is exactly that 80's heavy metal still holds a very special place in our hearts! Easily comparable to early Europe, Treat (although Madison is much heavier), 220 Volta, Spellbound (Swedish version), Fate and the like (as well as offering up diverse spots on "Diamond Mistress" that echo everyone from early Mötley Crüe to MSG and even Judas Priest!) the album features so many cool tracks besides just that killer opener! "Sneakers". "Don´t Go" and the title track are all splendid and then the album closes out almost as good as it started with "Turn Me Loose"! "Diamond Mistress" is a bit of a long shot as far as if it will ever get it's proper due respect, but at least it has shown up on CD and isn't all that hard to actually track down! For fans of early eighties metal this one is a must-buy as everything gels together perfectly from Göran Edman's powerful voice to great guitarists who were long on talent! Madison's "Diamond Mistress" might be a mysterious album due to the fact that I have no clue how I came to possess it, but it's certainly not a mystery when I can and will gladly recommended!