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Greensleeves - 2014 - "Inertial Frames"

(72:03, ‘Greensleeves’)


1. Fireflies 5:50
2. Unsolved 6:58
3. Construct 7:49
4. Dyschromatopsia 6:23
5. Decoding Love 4:14
6. Broken 6:42
7. Fading Heroes 7:53
8. Seed of Ego 4:15
9. Lich Bride 5:11
10. Fixed 3:42
11. Inertial Frames of Reference 10:29
12. The Little Things 2:37


Victor Schmidlin – guitars 
Cicero Baggio – guitars 
Gui Nogueira – vocals 
Luis Requiao – drums 
Joao Koerner – bass 
Gabriel Canoro – vocals 

Prolusion. The Brazilian band GREENSLEEVES was formed back in 1993, but in their first few years they didn't release any material and disbanded five years later. Come 2007; the band reunites again, and they have since then released two studio albums. "Inertial Frames" is the most recent of these, and was self-released in the fall of 2014.

Analysis. Greensleeves is a band that incorporates quite a few directions into their general style, but the overall result is one that belongs somewhere inside the progressive metal spectrum. As such, they are not entirely typical, in that they opt to produce compositions mainly without any keyboards, and they do not adhere stringently to any of the traditional directions of progressive metal. Traces of some familiar bands can still be found in their style and delivery, with Dream Theater perhaps the most expected name to be dropped. That the band states that Fates Warning and Queensryche are also influential reveals a bit of what to expect. The guitars are obviously the dominant instruments on the album, and both guitarists are skilled in both creating and delivering memorable details with their instruments. As many other bands, they explore the contrasts between gentler and more powerful themes, in this case by way of finding room for a liberal amount of passages and interludes with wandering gentle and acoustic guitar motifs, paired off with sequences of a more hard-hitting, riff-based foundation. Tight riff cascades, quirky riff movements and powerful, majestic rich guitar riffs come and go in a smooth, effortless manner, and gritter expressions have their place just as much as the tight, controlled and more elegant excursions. Melodic overlays are used to good effect, and for the instrumental passages shred style soloing alternates quite nicely with sequences of a more melodic and harmonic nature, and these guys aren't strangers to explore some of the more compelling guitar riffs, created more in depth, either. In terms of similarities, I guess fans of all the bands previously mentioned will encounter familiar sounding elements here and there, although to my ears, the Dream Theater similarities were most prominent, despite the lack of keyboards on most of the tracks. At their most vibrant, the band actually has something more of a thrash metal thing going for them as well, with occasional similarities to Megadeth. There is a divisive factor at hand though, and that element is the lead vocals of Gui Nogueira. Those who enjoy metal vocalists that are intense and emotional will most likely not have a problem with his contributions, but those who tend to listen to the vocals as an instrument in its own right, may find themselves somewhat more challenged. He does execute some stellar vocals at the best of times, and his Bruce Dickinson-style vocals on opening track Fireflies is arguably his best moment on the album. But for greater parts of the rest of this production, his vocals are what I might describe as a tad iffy, giving me associations to a blend of later day Geoff Tate and James LaBrie, with some Ozzy Osbourne undercurrents here and there. Mainly due to lack of a finer vocal control from what I can tell. He is a good vocalist, but doesn't hold an international quality on a well-controlled delivery, as I experience this CD.

Conclusion. Guitar-driven and dominated progressive metal is what the Brazilian band Greensleves has to offer on their sophomore production "Inertial Frames", but of a kind and variety that will feel familiar to fans of bands such as Queensryche and Dream Theater, flavored with a few thrash metal tendencies here and there. The vocals are intense and emotional though, and more so than under a strictly controlled delivery, a detail that will limit their general appeal somewhat, I suspect. But for those who prefer their lead vocals to be emotional, and tend to enjoy a guitar-dominated take on classic progressive metal, this album may well be worth a visit.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 3, 2016
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