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Progressive metal meditation ! - 100%

Livingwave17, October 20th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, ViciSolum Productions

When progressive metal is at hand, anything can be expected. If you are a prog nerd like myself you know this to be true better than you know yourself. It is a genre that accepts tons of influences from other genres and it probably gives you the widest variety of choices. And in the realm of progressive music, Persefone are kings. The one band that places Andorra on the heavy metal map has definitely given that small state a name to remember. Because no matter how much music you know, and how much information you can take in, these absolute gods of the instruments will blow your mind. Get ready for a record that will twist your brain and soothe your soul at the same time. An album that will challenge your capacity to absorb information, and that will bury your senses under a storm of energy. This band is as unpredictable, unmatched and unprecedented as it gets. And Spiritual Migration is their most memorable release so far. It is a record for the ages.

When one says Persefone, one says, technical performance, complexity, power, virtuosity and everything pushed to the limits. And in these terms, Spiritual Migration is their most extreme album ever released. It is defined by complex rhythmic structures and melodies, and it is as loaded as music gets. Every instrument has it's unique role and blends perfectly in the mix, creating the perfect progressive death metal cocktail. Persefone have everything. They have both crazy, fast and technical guitar riffs and solos, but also clean guitars. They have both harsh and clean vocals, a keyboard that enriches the whole show and a drum section that puts almost any band to shame.

The guitars show harsh, insane fast and long riffs with lots of variations and complicated rhythm. The solos that come on top are Dream Theater level, very evolved and very melodic. The most memorable ones are the solos for "Inner Fullness", "Spiritual Migration" and "The Majestic of Gaia". The keyboard gives a trance-like background sound to the whole album and joins the insane guitars as well. Solos are plenty as well as duels between keyboards and guitars. The instruments often take turns on a musical pattern to approach an idea in different ways, and give it more moods. The drums are the foundation on which everything is built and they keep that steady complex groove perfect for creativity to come on top. Yet the drummer isn't shy to join the storm of duels between instruments, and quick strums often follow the guitars. Marc Mas is the most impressive drummer that I know, and his role on the album is essential. Check out the official video for Spiritual Migration to see some beastly drumming.

It's obvious that there is a lot to take in when listening to this album. It is very hard to follow and will get you putting some effort to understand everything. Persefone isn't for everybody and you have to appreciate the genre in order to like this. It is definitely one of those records that grows on you, and you just need to give it some patience. Listen to the second track "Mind as Universe" for a quick sample. After a few spins you should be able to see what I'm on about.

The concept that joins this album is worthy of the music. The titles might have given you hint. This album is like heavy metal meditation. The lyrics speak of awareness, awakening, and gratitude. The concept teaches us how to control our perception, how to find the connection of earth, soul and universe and to overcome our difficulties. If you are depressed or going through some hard times, this album will snap you right out of it and it will show you the right path. You can easily associate the concept to the music. It sounds powerful and majestic and it sends that power to you. The idea of connection and awareness can be seen in a musical idea that keeps popping up in more songs of the album (the songs are "Zazen Meditation", "Inner Fullness", "Outro"), like an omnipresent mind. It's settled then. This album shows you that you can achieve anything, and Persefone's skill comes to show that they practice what they preach. Listen to Consciousness for a very expressive instrumental masterpiece that covers lots of moods and captures the concept despite having no lyrics.

You will see that this album isn't all crazy complex and fast technical ideas. You get some room to breathe. Some slow, simple sections in the middle of a long powerful song will allow you to absorb all the energy that was thrown at you. Such sections are the clean guitar solo for "The Great Reality", the slow bridge in "The Majestic of Gaia" and the middle section in the title track. You also get entire calm soothing songs with a trance-like keyboard background ("Zazen Meditation", "Metta Meditation", "Outro") that come to send out those positive vibes. I would say that these songs show what inner peace sounds like, and they send out a relaxing mood.

The main feelings sent out by this album are power, energy, grandeur and peace. And they way the album contrasts between these vibes is just perfect. One song will make you feel powerful and fill you with life and the next will allow you to calm down and let all that power sink in.Sometimes the contrast is instant. Check the quick alternation between clean and harsh vocals in songs like "Inner Fullness" and "The great reality" to see these sudden shifts in perspective.

After listening to this album you will feel different than before, even if you didn't catch any of it, even if it feels like it's too much. Trust me, it's not. It sends out pure, raw emotion, and it positively influences you directly.

Persefone isn't just another band, and I think we can all agree on that. They have so much more to show us, and it would be wise to listen to them. "Spiritual Migration" isn't just music. It is a way of life.

Take your time! It's worth it! - 100%

andreipianoman, August 8th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, ViciSolum Productions

Persefone isn't a very popular name in the progressive metal scene even though they've been around for over 15 years now. Coming from Andorra, a country with a very small metal scene, nobody would know what to expect from these guys. I wasn't even aware of the existence of this country before finding their music. But regardless of their humble origins, they've worked a lot throughout the years and definitely evolved a lot too.

I didn't have high expectations about their music when I first gave it a spin and the album "Spiritual Migration" was far down my list of preferences mainly because no song on the album seemed to make much sense. I could easily observe their instrumental virtuosity and had great respect for that from the very beginning but most of their songs just couldn't make me tick.It just seemed too much. The time signatures were too difficult, everything was really fast and the screaming seemed useless in comparison to the concept of the album. I just kept getting lost in it. But after a few more thorough attempts to get what on earth they are trying to say, I realized this is the kind of music that grows on you. And it kept growing on me. So you should really take your time before jumping to a conclusion.

I'll be totally honest. Many people, especially those who don't listen to prog metal, probably won't like this album. The music is very hard to follow and the patterns are always changing. They just never stop and repeat the same idea a second time without a least tweaking it a little bit. This is one of the most complex and evolved pieces of music I know and also one of the heaviest. And it's pure genius any way you put it. It is so chaotic yet perfectly balanced. Every instrument goes wild and all over the place but it does so in perfect harmony with the others.

The songwriting is simply epic. And so it should be, because the message of this album is very powerful and most importantly, real. The lyrics are very direct and beautiful. When you read them it seems as if a teacher is actually speaking to you and guiding you, explaining how the universe works. This album changed my life! It showed me that I have so much to be grateful for and helped me understand what it means to be aware and ultimately, how to be happy. It is meditation, expressed through metal. And that can be seen in the music. There is not a single note in this entire album that was just thrown in there and believe me when I tell you, there is a shitload of notes!The genius of it all consists in how they merged so many different moods and ideas together. It is empowering and energetic but also peaceful and soothing. And I really like the fact that they could get some beautiful melodic themes and fit them into the most extreme songs. Take the chorus for "Inner Fullness" for example. It sounds beautiful and calming but the massive wall of sound remains in background.

And then there's the guitar and keyboard solos, full of extreme technicality and raw power. And since I already mentioned "Inner Fullness" before, I should probably also say that it has THE BEST guitar solo in all of prog metal as far as I'm concerned. It probably isn't the most difficult out there but it is my personal favorite.

Another amazing song is "Consciousness". It is a nine minute instrumental piece starting from a slow and beautiful theme and evolving slowly to more and more complex riffs and leads before ending in a beautiful piano part like the ones you might find in a classical piano concerto. As instrumental songs, "Zazen Meditation" and "Metta Meditation" are also worth mentioning. An amazing idea was to put the theme from "Zazen Meditation" also at the end of "Inner Fullness" and in the "Outro". This album also contains my favorite ever Persefone song and that is "Spiritual Migration". The title track of the album has this amazing part in the middle where a certain theme evolves slowly, starting with keyboard and adding drums and guitar riffs and ultimately the solos. It sounds like an ascension towards infinity! And of course after the ascension there comes a fall which is why the last song, "Returning to the source" describes death as the soul, returning to the source of life, leaving the material world. A nice touch is the introduction of the riff from "Fall to Rise" (from Shin-ken) in this song.

To sum it all up, "Spiritual Migration" brings a whole new meaning to the concept of progressive music! It is a massive journey through the layers of mind in the pursuit of awareness and happiness and a game changer in the world of prog metal. And I've got a feeling like the whole thing was born out of the honest attempt to make the world a better place. Whether that's the case or not, they certainly have done it for me.

Prog's and Tech's most powerful release to date? - 99%

Karrebarre98, February 7th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, ViciSolum Productions

4 years after releasing their last album "Shin-Ken", Persefone have exploded into this massively more dynamic, brutal, poignant, virtuosic, and grandiose version of itself. They've shed their old skin of, "Good music but sounds like they paid $8k to produce it." No more will they suffer from strange sounding mixes and not having access to a wider library of instruments to feature in their music. This invisible shift has allowed them to complete their metamorphosis into one of prog's greatest bands. This album has got to be one of the most challenging, and dense albums ever. You can only begin to appreciate what this album has to offer with several listens, beginning to end.

The album starts with the sound of what I believe to be tapping an incantation bowl, giving a sense of tranquility that perhaps resembles meditation. Then, its followed by a guitar tapping motif that fades in and leads the song in a growing, crescendo with more and more musical elements jumping in til the song is practically a full-on orchestral and metal ensemble. Then it segues into the true opening track, "Mind As Universe."

Musically, this album has got to be the embodiment of "huge dynamics." This album features not only your standard drums, vocals, bass, rhythm guitars and lead guitar, but it also features many many synths, choir pads, strings pads, and even PIPE ORGAN. In addition to that, the instrumentals use random instruments or rather, "other things that make noise," such as incantation bowls, windchimes, steel drums, this thing that sounds like a little kid piano, among other ones whose names I don't even know. Incorporating this myriad of different sounds gives this album such a wide variety of timbre song-to-song, each piece resembles an adventure all on it own. Having this variety of timbres, and having the wide variety of musical techniques that these excellent Andorran musicians possess, gives them the ability to write the most contrasting music ever in the progressive music world.

After hearing their first 3 albums, I always found their production style to sound rather odd and unrefined compared to other bands. The vocals sound rather masked, and the guitars are always kinda gratey and have these high frequency standing waves generated during recording that make it sound stale. However, Persefone stepped up their producing game and had the guitars, keys+bass, and drums+vocals all recorded at different studios. (I suppose to give them more flexibility with recording economically because they're still slightly low-budget, small fanbase, etc.) The guitars sound magnificent; they have no bizarre standing wave staleness, have plenty of presence and high end and sound "crisp but not burnt". The solos and leads are very fluid and watery (thanks to whatever choruses they used on them), thus making them very easy listening. The drums are a bit of an improvement, where the bass drum isn't too loud and clicky (as it supposed to be in tech-death) but a nice middle of the road like on "The Sound Of Perserverance." The cymbals and tom drums are well processed and really stand out on the quieter instrumentals where you can hear the dry stone reverb of the drum room. Lastly, the vocals are arguably the biggest improvement. They sound infinitely more clear, dynamic and more theatrical than they ever did before. At last, the production can really do Marc's death growls justice!

In closing, this album is by every means a MUST LISTEN. If you're looking for a dense, challenging, grandiose and adventurous listen, this album is for you. If you give this album several listening opportunities, you will find that those synths you originally thought were probably kind of annoying, suddenly are pretty neat. Those boring instrumentals, will suddenly be interesting and filled with different kinds of emotion. Those awkwardly and overly technical breakdowns or guitar solo sections will begin to make sense and you can headbang to them. What I'm basically saying is, this album stretches your tolerance for new sounds and you put away the CD having a wider appeal for progressive music in general.

99/100

Favorites:

Mind As Universe (Album favorite)
The Great Reality
Majestic Of Gaia
Spiritual Migration

A Magnificent Journey - 98%

GorbazTheDragon, January 27th, 2016

I’ve never found an album quite like Spiritual Migration, it is quite a mouthful, and will take almost anyone a few times through to completely wrap their head around. And even then, the atmosphere that Persefone creates throughout is almost impossible to describe because it is so immersive and overwhelming. It is one of the few albums that is both brilliant in terms of technical musicianship and at the same time manages such a powerful aura; it’s probably this duality of being so excellent on the two defining aspects of a modern metal album that makes Spiritual Migration a true masterpiece. That it is such a work of perfection from beginning to end is utterly mind blowing, especially considering the less than stellar releases that preceded it.

Getting on with the music, the intro, Flying Sea Dragons, (mind you, I do have a bit of a soft spot for dragons) already sets the bar extraordinarily high, the persistent lead, the mechanically precise drumming, and the cascading drops woven between the slow rise gently eases you into Mind as Universe. The second song most definitely does not disappoint, its musical composition is so overwhelmingly complex that to fully understand it one might find himself re-listening to it for hours. And it certainly doesn’t overdo itself, not a single pluck of the string, not a single stroke on the keyboard, and most certainly not a single hit of a drum sounds at all out of place, everything slots together so perfectly that it is still hard to describe a full year after I first played it. Some might bemoan this complexity, saying it forces other bands to follow in and try to one up the competition, but that is simply not true; there are plenty of bands which manage a great atmosphere and lasting impression without being at all complicated.

In some places, the album falls back on to a djent style, something that becomes slightly more prevalent towards the latter half. Yet in comparison to other full-on djent bands it doesn’t rely on the technique for the main portion of the content, and in the parts where it does, it comes in a package that is far more melodic, rather than an unimaginative, repetitive, monotonous chugging. This is another balance the song writing strikes so perfectly, which is the combination of melody and rhythm; something that comes forth as a brilliant, majestic flow of guitar and keyboard leads that is laid over and woven through an equally impressive drum line. The only fault here is that in many of the tracks the bass doesn’t make much of an appearance, and even then, from experience of having tried to play some of the songs the bass lines are far from dull.

But, the pièce de résistance within the masterpiece has to be the two part instrumental jewel that proudly and confidently sits at the climax of the tale. Its composition again borders perfection, rising up from the calmness equaled in the other interludes (Zazen and Metta Meditation) and then without the need for words culminating what has to be one of the most impressive sets of solos that has graced the metal scene in years. And while perhaps not as disposed towards jamming as a song such as No Quarter, the wealth of creativity that lies in something as short as A Path to Enlightenment really speaks to how brilliant the guitar work of the Persefone and particularly Lozano actually is. It bears mentioning that the rest of the band, particularly Marc Mas’ drums and Espinosa’s keyboards still manage to keep up, not at all seeming left in the dust by the staggering leads.

The really impressive part is how the atmosphere manages to build so well upon the composition; the tranquil interludes providing a quiet place to rest and reflect between the brutally fast main pieces. And they are interspersed in a manner that keeps the very well thought out fluidity that persists through the full 70 minutes of the record more than intact: They build on the flow, which after the climax slowly descends into the Outro, which is another piece that could deserve a review on its own. Despite the harsh nature of the majority of the album, the atmosphere it evokes is one of unparalleled beauty, a mood death metal, and particularly melodeath, rarely stirs, or even seeks to indulge in, and it is done in a way that is so unique, focusing more on the individual than the likes of Omnium Gatherum, and less on sorrow than Agalloch or Opeth.

In terms of production there is also little to point at as far as problems, it's miles ahead of Persefone's previous releases. In fact, there is nothing that is a step backwards from any of their previous albums. In fact, if we do go ahead and look for flaws in any part of the record, it is difficult to make a concrete argument for anything: The vocal delivery is a well balanced mix of harsh and clean, and the wrap up more coherent than even most concept albums would dare to be. The journey that Spiritual Migration is capable of invoking is so powerful that by the time you are fleeing down the Return to the Source, you have little recollection of the brilliant odyssey that brought you there in the first place. Only when you find the source, and you have been settled next to that babbling brook, the ever so sweet Outro gives you room to look around and digest what actually happened, and that passes, slipping off into silence, which is when you can finally collect yourself over the magnificent immersion that is the Spiritual Migration.

Persefone - Spiritual Migration - 96%

Silicon Messiah, September 11th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, ViciSolum Productions

You don't hear a lot about the Andorran metal scene these days. That's why it's so fun that death metallers Persefone have now released their fourth album, titled Spiritual Migration. With their progressive, innovatory form of death, they're an exciting listen. The monstrously long tracks have left the entire production at a staggering seventy minutes, so it takes an open mind before throwing oneself into the pitch black depths of Persefone.

Already in the third track, 'The Great Reality', you've sunk into the music and it feels like you're an hour's listen in. And that's even with a two minute intro, titled Flying Sea Dragons (coolest song name ever, by the way). That's when I realize what a magnificent experience I'm about to partake in. At this point - not having heard Persefone at all before - I'm sold. You can clearly hear the Opeth and Symphony X influences, but Persefone is a band that with Spiritual Migration have created something clearly unique. And I know that I'll return more than once.

Guitar leads that melt your face, riffage that breaks your fingers and an overall phenomenal work by Carlos Lozano and Jordi Gorgues on the guitars. Guitar solos are abundant in the long tracks, which is fine with me, being a sucker for a good guitar solo. But there are also a few keyboard solos, something rarely heard in death metal. Instrumental 'Zazen Meditation' breaks all conventional death metal rules, giving a spiritual feel; never before have I heard the chirping of birds in a death metal song. It's striking, how they've created such a trance like feel. Something which is also true for the entire album.

The progressive parts are provided through shifts in tempo throughout the long songs, shifting beats and mesmerizing hooks; the tempo fluctuates wildly at times, yet at all times maintaining an interesting sound. Melodic guitar harmonies and keyboard licks suddenly relieved by monstrous riffs. Soul soaring growls mix with clean vocals and a lot of the time it doesn't have an innate death metal feel to it. Several long instrumental passages contribute to the sense of completion. In fact, many of the songs are instrumental and more than one may be counted as ballads. Persefone have mixed machine like perfection with the imperfections of being human. The conceptual knowledge within the instruments have given what feels like supernatural ability. Spiritual Migration is a musical journey through brutality and beauty, death and release, and all the grey dimensions in between.

Standout tracks: Returning To The Source, Inner Fullness

Originally written for 'getmetal.com', April 2013