URBAN TALES – Urban Tales Demo

URBAN TALES - Urban Tales Demo


Release date: August 28, 2006

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It’s not very often that a release by a previously unknown band comes along and blows you away. It’s even less common for a band currently with no deal to usurp the bigger names and come up with one of the most impressive releases this year. Urban Tales have managed just that.

Hailing from Lisbon in Portugal, Urban Tales were formed in 2005 by mainman and vocalist Marcos Cesar, Sergio Osorio (guitars), Joao Matias (bass), and Tiago Marques (drums), and after months of honing their craft, their first demo was unleashed on the world. With influences at the melodic end of the Gothic spectrum, reference points including Anathema, Paradise Lost, HIM, and Katatonia spring to mind, yet the band maintains enough originality to create an identity of their own.

Opening with “In Purity,” it’s clear from the get-go that this is no average budget demo. The sound is big, powerful, and crisp with a fine edge of drama to the proceedings. Cesar in particular shines through with a silky, melancholic baritone resonance to his voice. Thankfully, the gruff cookie monster growls that ruin so many potentially good songs of this genre are nowhere to be heard on this demo.

Another strength of this collection of songs are the cast iron guitar riffs, which, rather than batter the listener with a wall of noise and distortion, build dynamics and atmosphere with the effective use of space. The riffs have room to breathe, giving the songs breadth to develop and giving them a sharp, hard-edged sound that emphasises the sense of rhythm to the songs.

“The Rise” brings the Paradise Lost influences to the fore, a driving morose number with some highly effective female backing vocals and atmospheric keyboards, adding a welcome twist to things. Again Cesar’s melodious tones lift the song into the emotional stratosphere.

A short soundtrack of a domestic argument opens “You’ll Never Know,” and may be a touch superfluous here, but the tune itself, with its repetitive, yet simply gorgeous guitar refrain, underpins a song of beauty. The chorus is a soaring, heartfelt plea of anguish with Cesar wringing every ounce of despair from his performance.

HIM comparisons spring to mind on the anthemic “Superstar,” with Cesar’s breathy vocal delivering, it’s a fine uplifting, invigorating number that could threaten to damage the charts if given the right exposure. The ensuing “Until I Died” takes a more laid back path, adding a degree of variety to the songs.

Closing the album is an alternate take of the excellent “You’ll Never Know,” before the haunting, fragile piano/atmospheric synth lead ballad completes a mature and stunning set of songs.

Urban Tales manage to straddle the fine line between Gothic credibility while producing music with a hook that might just propel them into the big leagues without sacrificing their integrity or selling out to the corporate dollar.

Many bands would be proud to issue an official album of such quality. The fact that this is a self-financed demo makes this all the more staggering. It’s no wonder that, with this classy collection of songs, Urban Tales have sparked a bidding war, with some of the leading labels competing for their signatures, and have in this demo, produced material that not only matches some of the genres giants but leaves them trailing behind in their wake. Urban Tales are going to be a name to watch over the coming months, and you heard it here first!


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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