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Madina Lake – “Attics To Eden” (2009) May 25, 2009

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2009, Madina Lake.

Written by Andrew Hart

Writing a concept album is one thing.  It’s difficult to craft an entire disc worth of material centered on one theme, generally a more obscure one than typical rock themes like sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.  I have an utmost respect for bands like Our Lady Peace, Nine Inch Nails, Sixx:A.M., and other bands that have concocted full albums dedicated to important ideas and concepts.  What’s even crazier however is what I will now refer to as a “concept discography.”  While Coheed and Cambria has become well-known for telling one great big tale with their albums, right behind them is Madina Lake, a Chicago band with a newly released second album telling the story of a 1950’s fictional town and their missing person problem.

The aforementioned album, Attics To Eden, starts off stronger than so many albums have lately, with four incredible tracks to kickstart an interesting listen.  Leading off is “Never Take Us Alive,” an absolute thunderstorm of a blistering drumming and great singing.  The chorus prominently features jumps to and from falsetto from frontman Nathan Leone along with some rousing gang vocals soon afterward.  It’s as infectious as anything you’ve ever heard and is the perfect idea for a first single (which it is).  Following up is “Let’s Get Outta Here,” a song that is entirely different in tone and personality but uses the same dynamics to create an outstanding track with unlimited sing-along potential.  This theme carries on through the next two, which as mentioned are part of a great starting four.  “Legends” has a darker sound and idea, with a chorus that screams “Let’s burn this town, right to the ground, like every legend before us,” but it’s still going to be stuck in your head for days.

Madina Lake starts to trip after that fourth track however (the fast-paced “Criminals”), and it begins to feel like an entirely different album in terms of song writing.  The central idea of the disc remains very much the same, chronicling the journey of Adalia to a land called Eden, but the idea isn’t intriguing enough to carry relatively mundane tracks beyond the first listen or two.  The lyrics are good, better than most bands in fact, but unless you enjoy fairy tales a lot more than most rock listeners, it’s doubtful you’ll find this album extraordinary because of it.  Back on to the songwriting though, after that fourth track the songs get remarkably less memorable.  “Through The Pain” attempts to recapture the magic but really just falls flat for it’s entire three and a half minute lifespan, and most of the other tracks are even more boring in terms of sound.

It’s worth pointing out there is a certain bit of redemption towards the album’s end.  “Welcome To Oblivion” is the best song with growth potential on the disc, one that will get a little better with each listen, but it’s sadly book-ended by mediocre tracks.  You get the standout songs back with “Statistics” which has an interesting beat and addictive chorus that will bring you back to that feeling the first few songs gave you.  “Lila, The Divine Game” is an instrumental that ends the album on a bit of a creepy note and has a great ambiance to leave on, but like many tracks before it lacks the proper memorability.

Madina Lake is a strong band in concept.  The vocals shine throughout the album with a unique blend of gang vocals and great pitch fluctuation from the frontman.  Also, the drumming is fast and entertaining throughout the album, and there’s some fairly neat guitar work as well.  The band just seems inconsistent throughout Attics To Eden.  Many songs will be trapped in your head for days, while the rest will fall by the wayside.  This is one of those albums you’d likely only put about half of on your music player, but sadly at that point you lose the story the album tells.  All in all, this is a solid listen with enough intriguing lyrics to make the first few spins interesting, but like many concept albums, ultimately falls flat with only a few standouts.

6.5 out of 10 – Download “Never Take Us Alive”

Madina Lake is | Nathan Leone – Vocals | Mateo Camargo – Guitar, Backing Vocals | Matthew Leone – Bass, Backing Vocals | Dan Torelli – Drums



1. K-God - May 26, 2009

This sounds awesome! I love “concept discography,” even if it’s not at it’s best. Good review! 😀

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