Tim Donahue
Madmen + Sinners
Frontiers Records
Produced By: Tim Donahue

Running Time: 63.44

Release Date: April 5

Released: EU

Musical Style: Hard Rock / Progressive

Links: Frontiers
Songs: 87%
Sound: 95%
Tim Donahue has spent the best part of 3 years writing and recording this new album, which is a major step up for him as songwriter and performer.
Madmen & Sinners is a concept album that flows through it's story with ease.
It's predecessor was Into The Light, which featured Hurricane vocalist Kelly Hansen. This is a far more intense record.
Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie is perfect foil for the music Donahue has laid out. Neither totally progressive in nature, nor totally metal, the material lies somewhere in between a moody and atmospheric combination of melodic metal with progressive twists, powerful vocals and intense instrumentation.
What's more impressive is that Donahue provides most of that instrumentation and mixes it superbly so as never to sound like a one man band.
What I like best about Dream Theater is their ability to capture a melodic hook and deliver it with uncompromising power. That is mostly the case here, although a couple of tracks with a stronger or more recognizable chorus would have been a bonus. There is a lot of music to digest and a few extra hooks would help that.
Track by Track:
Million Miles is a good way to start any album a 7 minute hard rocker with plenty of challenging rhythms and beats to impress most fans of LaBrie and indeed fans of progressive hard rock in general.
Let Go is a great little 2 minute track that features a big fat organ intro, which gives way to a soft acoustic backed vocal, which in turn delves back into the organ and leads into my favourite track of the album - My Heart Bleeds.
This is an epic and moody rock track that takes nearly two minutes to build to it's summit before rocking out. Classic early Dream Theater and European melodic metal at it's finest.
Feel My Pain is a straight up, double kick-drum fired rocker. A strong lead vocal and some fine guitar work are the highlight of the track.
Morte Et Dabo is a rather unusual Gregorian chant style track that runs 2 minutes and leads into a short spoken work passage before kicking into another dark and moody track, Children Of The Flame. This is a heavy progressive rocker with some intensity and a middle section solo that will impress fans.
The End is a mid-tempo rock track with a moody chorus hook and some atmospheric music accompaniment.
Wildest Dreams is a near 6 minute acoustic track with a little more chanting thrown into the mix, but is generally a nice soft track to break the intensity of the album.
Master Of The Mind is a classic Dream Theater style progressive rock track that clocks in a little over 7 minutes.
Madmen & Sinners is the culmination of the rest of the album. This 15 minute plus epic takes in all moods and aspects of what came before it and finishes the album off with a bang.
The Bottom Line
There's a lot of interesting music on offer here and repeat listens are required to best judge the record. The bottom line is that Tim Donahue should be proud of what he has achieved here it's well written, brilliantly executed and features some fine moments for those that like their music a little more complex than a simple 3 minute pop song.
It's rather dark, very moody and could have used a couple of extra hooks, but overall is a fine piece of progressive music. And James LaBrie could not have been a better vocalist pick.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Into The Light
Madmen & Sinners

Line Up
James LaBrie: Vocals
Tim Donahue: Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Mike Mangini: Drums

Essential for fans of:
Into The Light
Dream Theater
Track Listing
Million Miles*
Let Go
My Heart Bleeds*
Feel My Pain*
Morte Et Dabo
Children Of The Flame*
The End
Wildest Dreams
Master Of The Mind
Madmen & Sinners
--*Best Tracks

21/04/04: Mark -
Rating: 90
A varied and often strange record that amazes and confuses at the same time. Tim Donahue is a new artist to me but after reading the review by Andrew I thought I would give the album a try, (especially with James LaBrie providing the vocals). I must admit that I am impressed with the songwriting and the guitar playing here which never fails to surprise, it really is quite different. It is obvious that Tim is a VERY talented musician and this record is a great achievement. The fact that he provides the bass, keyboards and guitar is sensational. There are moments that really sound like Dream Theater, but that is not a criticism, more a huge compliment. "Million Miles" is a fantastic opener with a great bombastic heavy guitar riff that chugs along with a good measure of muscle. "My Heart Bleeds" is one of the songs of the year so far with some great guitar work and simply excellent vocals from LaBrie. Overall, this album is best described as mean, moody, thoughtful and intelligent music played by virtuoso musicians, (all three of them!!). If you like something heavy, progressive and altogether different buy this record.

20/04/04: Alice -
Rating: 50
I'm fed up with those invading Frontiers metal releases. Where is AOR music in their stuff now ? Do they want to stop supporting melodic rock in a near future ? The latest releases from this label are 80% metal oriented. This Madmen & Sinners cd is another boring progressive metal cd, with absolutely no imagination. AVOID !!!!!!!!!

20/04/04: Freddy De Keyzer - fr
Rating: 89
Great hard, progressive rock ! Tim, all credits to you man ! And with the voice of James this is like Dream Theater, so you know you can't go wrong with this one !
Very, very good and higly RECOMMENDED !!!

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