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(44:37, Nooirax Producciones)
TRACK LIST: Track list: 1. North 13:41 2. East 8:25 3. West 9:46 4. South 12:45 LINEUP Jorge Santana - drums, percussion Alberto Garcia - guitars Txus Rosa - guitars Sergio Gonzalez - bass with: Yaiza Garcia - piano
Prolusion. Spanish band FIRMAM3NT was formed back in 2013, consisting of seasoned musicians with a desire to create music in a more expressive vein. "Firmament" is their debut album, and was released through Nooirax Producciones in 2016.
Analysis. Progressive metal is the name of the game for this band, and an instrumental variety of the genre at that. Furthermore, this is a band that seeks inspirations from outside of the classic progressive metal universe, opting to explore sounds and arrangements of a rather different variety altogether. I guess the sub-genre post metal is suitable to apply for this one. While this is an instrumental band, a few will probably find it intriguing to know that conventional instrument soloing isn't a big part of this album. Firmam3nt have opted for a more expressive and subtle manner in which to display their virtuosity, so those longing for the flamboyant guitar solos can safely look elsewhere. And if it hadn't been for solemn piano detail in the final song, this is an album that could also sport a no keyboards on this album sticker. What we do get is a band that enjoys to move around in their compositions. Things are always in motion, in development, and prone to alterations. Monumental, dark riff driven passages with a doom metal orientation live side by side with gentler forays where wandering, light toned guitars and careful rhythms lead the way. Quirky riff arrangements is the rule rather than the exception, and guitar details of a more atonal character are cleverly used throughut. Fairly often the songs will revolve around a core guitar riff or bass motif, with underlying or overlying guitar details provide either a textured contrasting presence for mood and atmosphere or a more intense presence used to good effect to increase tension. Post rock and post metal, with a tip of the hat to both classic progressive metal and possibly a few progressive rock bands as well. All the instrumentalists gets their occasions to shine, mainly by way of instrument details and impact moments. The use of impact riffs and impact rhythms one of those details that makes this album an enjoyable experience. The mood and atmosphere tends to be rather dark and brooding throughout, ranging from gentle melancholy in some of the lighter toned passages to despair in the most intense forays. As such, a certain affection for music of the darker and bleaker variety is needed to be able to enjoy this CD.
Conclusion. I found this album to be a solid production through and through, always with enough going on to maintain nerve and tension, while rarely if ever instigating changes and alterations at a pace that makes a chaotic impression. If this comes down to meticulous planning or merely a band with a well developed skill for improvisations is probably an open question, but the end result is an intriguing one anyhow. An album well worth a check by those with a taste for dark, expressive progressive metal of the post metal variety.
Progmessor: April 19th 2019
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