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An underrated technical prog feast - 95%

Writhingchaos, February 28th, 2016

I first came across this band when searching for the "similar bands" option regarding the uber technical madmen Spiral Architect and then subsequently picking up Manvantara. I remember giving this a couple of spins and not being too impressed dismissing them as a watered down clone of the aforementioned band. However I decided to give it a few more spins and boy I'm glad I did. This doozy of an album does grow on you and how.

The album opens with the 9 minute long chaotically technical "Origin" and my word what an opener it is. With heavy riffs and superb technical licks galore balanced out with a variety of clean breaks and stunning fusion solos, this song is one hell of a varied treat for the senses. The bass is also noticeably higher in the mix which is no surprise considering that this is technical progressive metal. Think a less chaotic Spiral Architect with more compact and catchy song structures to boot and you'll have a fair idea of the music on display. Of course that's just the initial impression. If you find that band's music too technical for your tastes, this album should fit your bill.

The concept of the album is "based on mankind’s journey through the ages, from the birth of modern man up to our present era, and is set within the timeline of the four Hindu Yugas (Age/Era)" as stated by the band themselves. Quite the history lesson that. If you're not too lazy, do take a good look at the lyrics. Quite intriguing to say the least.

The lush keys in the opening of the title track are also sublime. The album closer "The Dawning" also features the best use of ethereal keys in prog metal that I've heard in a while. Although most of the vocals on this album are cleans, there are a few growls inserted here and there during the more aggressive parts of the songs adding to the variety of the album. "Inner Flame" and "Reset Realign" are the more straightforward and aggressive tracks on this album. Seriously listen to the intro riff of the latter song and tell me otherwise, leading the charge into a salvo of vicious technical riffing with echoing clean guitars in the background topped with some vocal snarls. This song is ample proof that these guys really shine when they experiment more with their prog and technical leanings.

I can't really say I'm the biggest fan of the spoken words on "Cycle Of Ages" but they do create an interesting and ethereal aura if you actually pay attention to the lyrics plus enhancing the concept of the album as a whole. Being a guitarist myself, I have to say that this album just kills it in every sense, be it the wondrous jazz-fusion solos, maniacally technical riffs or the lush clean guitars, these guys just let it rip showing no restraint (in a good way) but at the same time, never losing focus of the songwriting part of the music which at the end of the day, is essential. Some of the clean guitar parts and solos are very reminiscent of Cynic, especially their seminal masterpiece Focus and the heavy guitar riffs actually hearken back to Symphony X of the 90s.

If you are a hardcore fan of prog and are yet to hear this album, you are truly missing out. Get this now.