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When I realised this was the debut EP from a Canadian prog metal trio I was somewhat confused, as I was convinced they came from an Arabian background while the singer also reminded me of Serj Tankian in the way her performed some of the songs. So when I discovered that Armando Bablanian (guitar) is of Italian/Armenian background and drummer Michel Karakch is of Syrian/Armenian background and they met while at school in Kuwait, it started to make some sort of sense. Armando emigrated to Canada and immersed himself in the scene there, and he was followed by Michel, after which they joined forces with bassist Liam Horrigan to form Derev. The songs came from jam sessions from the two childhood friends, but somewhat strangely the vocals were recorded by a guest, Adel Saflou (Ambrotype, originally from Syria) in his home studio in Amsterdam which probably means the opportunity for live gigs to be somewhat limited. The backgrounds of the main players is important as it has a major impact on the way this music is performed, as it has many middle eastern influences and stylings. These are blended in to the more Western themes so one immediately thinks of the likes of Orphaned Land or System of a Down, yet more melodic, more progressive. One never knows what to expect as while the percussion could be a standard drum kit, it could also be something very different indeed. Adel is a major focus throughout, which is why it is such a surprise they are not a “working band” as such, as the way the quartet work together is incredible. This is a very strong introduction to the band. It may be less than 30 minutes in length but it is a great introduction to this middle east progressive crossover which will surely be of interest to many.
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