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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.