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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