"Shadow to Shadow: Dean Madonia's Frankenstein" (CD Baby; 2013)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I'm a sucker for a great concept album, especially one with a horror theme. The moment "Shadow to Shadow: Dean Madonia's Frankenstein" crossed my desk, I couldn't wait to hear it.

I'll admit I knew absolutely nothing about Dean Madonia prior to listening to this CD and I didn't know what to expect. Would "Shadow to Shadow" be a classic rock showcase like The Who's "Tommy?" Would it be more of a sinister rock chapter book like Alice Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare?" An avant garde rock opera along the lines of Pink Floyd's "The Wall?" Or maybe more in the vein of a Broadway musical, like Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera?" I had no idea.

Interestingly enough, "Shadow to Shadow" is probably more akin to The Alan Parsons Project's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" than any of the other recordings listed above. It's heavy on keyboard and piano and is buoyed by impressive production and songwriting. It focuses strongly on the story here, keeping faithful to the classic Mary Shelley novel (at least as far as I can remember; it's been at least ten years since I last read it) and adding a modern angle as well. As you listen to this terrific two CD set, the story unfolds in your mind, much like a classic radio mystery set to music, and it's easy to visualize the individual characters and settings.

The music, for the most part, is slow- to medium-paced and vocal driven. Although there are some hard rock moments, most of "Shadow to Shadow" is softer, striving to tell a story rather than to put a boot to your rock'n'roll ass. It works just fine as is but I would have preferred perhaps just a little more variety in style.

Madonia and crew are experienced musicians and their expertise shines through every track here. I would recommend listening to the two CDs here in one sitting, using a nice pair of headphones and with a lyric sheet in front of you. I can't imagine a better way to experience this particular re-telling of a legendary horror classic.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2014 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:47 -0400 .