Madison – “Diamond Mistress” (1984)

MadisonJust another killer Swedish metal release from 1984 — an AMAZING year in Swedish metaldom.  Madison covered a lot of ground on this ten song LP, which includes everything from delicate ballads to driving Euro-metal.  The album’s opener, Lay Down Your Arms, bursts through the double doors to announce the band’s arrival — immediately calling to mind Europe’s fiery debut from 1983.  (Indeed, those familiar with Europe’s first two albums will definitely notice some similarities here.)  Lay Down Your Arms is the album’s best track — a shiny diamond amongst a treasure trove of early Swedish jewels.  Elsewhere, smooth vocals, rich melodies, and raging guitars greet the listener at every turn.  The metal melts the Swedish ice on barnstorming tracks like Run Boy and Diamond Mistress, while the album’s two emotive ballads Pictures Return and Changes provide a nice change of pace.  My score: A-

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