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(61:34, Melodic Revolution Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Behind the Electric Veil 7:09 2. Slowly She Dies 6:29 3. Arabesque 6:03 4. Sinking 2:16 5. The Frozen Wind 4:45 6. Endless Spiral 9:42 7. Despite Your Cries 5:37 8. Oceans 7:25 9. The Continuous Struggle 2:47 10. Three Times 9:21 LINEUP: Gianluca Pappalardo – vocals Francesco Lombardo – bass Michele Panepinto – drums Andrea Roda – keyboards Tommaso Semrov – guitars Alessandro Sanfilippo – guitars
Prolusion. The Italian band VITRIOL was formed back in 2007, the band name inspired by the quote “Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultam Lapidem” (English: Enter the bowels of the Earth and, through your purification, you will find the hidden stone). They released an initial EP in 2009, and in 2012 they signed to the US label Melodic Revolution Records which released their debut album "Into the Silence I Sink" towards the end of 2012.
Analysis. After inspecting this debut album a few times, I think my key impression about this production is that it's clever. Fairly innovative and with quite a few nifty creative details, but most of all it's clever. Many compositions appear to have been mapped out with carefully planned use of surprising effects to maintain listener attention, on a few occasions we're taken on a ride with a pre-concluded development that suddenly doesn't appear, for instance. Playing on our knowledge about how music of this type tends to develop and then opting for a development that is rather opposite of what you'd normally find. Which, in my book, merits a description as being clever. Apart from that, we're dealing with a progressive metal band in this case, a band that knows their old school material fairly well, and while not afraid to explore territories where Dream Theater and their myriads of followers have been before, they are equally unafraid to add some careful flavoring of what I believe is called djent today (can someone please stop inventing new metal subgenres now?) as well as details of a more careful and arguably Porcupine Tree inspired nature. Which gives us compositions that twist and turn and shift in style, intensity and character more often than Lady Gaga changes clothes when she's playing live. At least that's the case for the longer compositions here, effortlessly and smoothly alternating between hammering guitar and rhythm cascades, dark, smooth and grimy slithering riff driven excursions, majestic, Dream Theater-style, progressive metal and light toned, gentle and frail sequences with vocals and either acoustic guitar or piano as the main supporting instrument. There's always room for the latter in this band's compositions, and used to much greater effect than the token appearance too. The manner in which this band smoothly hits transitions towards these gentle passages or elegantly shifts from massive progressive metal cascades to frail and tender moods is one bands much more experiences probably could take knowledge from. Clever, as previously stated, and I think skilled is another word that merits use for this specific side of the band's material. In that context I'll also add vocalist Pappalardo's repertoire, just as good in delivering emotional vocals whispered and shouted alike as he is in catering for the tenderest of deliveries. Not always to full perfection, but with great skill and care still. Among a generally high quality collection of songs I'd like to pull out two as highlights: Endless Spiral and Three Times, the two longest compositions at hand, and both of them on subtly different levels creations where this band's care for details, smooth transitions and clever solutions comes most to its right.
Conclusion. The Italian musicians have made themselves a neat and fairly inventive debut with "Into the Silence I Sink". With great care for moods and atmospheres, more alterations in style, mood and intensity than most progressive metal bands manage to incorporate in a natural manner and always with an ear for melodies and room for gentler interventions. A strong and intriguing debut album by a band that has the potential to become major players.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: Agst 19, 2013
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