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(51:11, ‘Distorted Harmony’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Every Time She Smiles 6:49 2. Children of Red 5:13 3. Misguided 8:33 4. Nothing But the Rain 2:14 5. As One 5:52 6. Hollow 6:08 7. As You Go 3:13 8. Natural Selection 5:16 9. Methylene Blue 7:53 LINEUP: Misha Soukhinin – vocals Yoav Efron – keyboards Yogev Gabay – drums Guy Landau – guitars Iggy Cohen – bass
Prolusion. The Israeli band DISTORTED HARMONY was formed in 2009 by keyboardist Yoav Efron and drummer Yogev Gabay, and in the next two years they gradually assembled the remaining members of the band. Just one year after they had a complete combo assembled they released their debut album "Utopia", initially as a free digital production, but later issued as a more traditional CD as well. "Chain Reaction" is their sophomore album, self-released by the band in 2014.
Analysis. It's always nice to see a band that managess to keep together over time, and Distorted Harmony is among the bands I hoped would stick together. Their first album was a promising debut by a then new band, and it's always intriguing to be able to follow a talented group over time to see what they manage to achieve. Judging from this second album of theirs, what they need first and foremost is much more exposure, as they have developed into a unit able to produce appealing, quality music in their chosen field that is on level with just about all the big names in that genre in terms of quality. Progressive metal is the name of the game for the band, and they have managed to create a nice little niche of their own in that style. Not by creating anything mind-blowing, new and highly innovative, mind you, but by tastefully selecting certain key features and details they tend to implement into most of their compositions, creating somewhat of a trademark sound that sets them slightly and subtly apart from many others. The foundation of Distorted Harmony’s take on progressive metal is firmly founded in the school set up by Dream Theater, and they have chosen to implement all facets of it rather than the key arrangements and sounds many others tend to focus on. Which means that we have the traditional, majestic guitar riff and keyboard arrangements, as well as gentler interludes with a more sparse and delicate theme both for verse sequences, transition phases and interludes, but also plenty of alterations and variations on themes, lead and supplemental motifs, recurring interludes with and without variations, quirky transition phases and, at times, compositions with a busy schedule, jumping back, forth and sideways in almost constant development. Quirky and sophisticated material, and rather challenging from a technical point of view at times too. This is the foundation though, and the band explores out from this base rather than merely maintaining and replicating this fundament. They don't add all that much to this approach and expression, but even minor variations can be effective when used and deployed in the right manner. In this case we have two distinct additional features: One of them is to add in subtly dramatic dark toned guitar details, of the kind many prefer to describe as djent, and the second aspect here is the chorus sections: These tend to be a bit more staccato and angular, combined with the clear melody-based vocals used might be described as indie rock oriented, sounding a bit like what I suspect Muse would appear if they had a go at making progressive metal. Adding further emphasis to the specific expression are occasional instrument details with a jazz orientation, and occasional arrangements that have in sound something of a post rock feel to them, a subtle nervous light toned intensity, yet without actually being created by a post rock arrangement as such. Most likely a case of careful keyboard or electronic details used, and if that effect is planned or an incidental feature, I can't really tell. While the band sticks to exploring these landscapes for the greater majority of the album, they do veer out into landscapes with a slight Porcupine Tree mood to them as well on occasion, the brief instrumental Nothing But the Rain and concluding track Methylene Blue both contain softer themes with a gentler expression and with distinct similarities to the emotionally distanced landscapes explored by Steven Wilson and his men. Which at least indicates that Distant Harmony is able and willing to expand and develop their sound and style even further.
Conclusion. Distorted Harmony comes across as a band in full development to create their very own take on progressive metal, operating out from a fundament based on the Dream Theater school of progressive metal, liberally flavoring their quirky take on that style with elements from both indie rock and later day progressive rock. The end result on this occasion is a solid, strong and extremely well made album, a high-quality example of progressive metal that should have a broad appeal to most who enjoy the genre and probably a bit beyond as well.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: November 17, 2015
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