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Sweet prog magnificence! - 94%

andreipianoman, November 9th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2013, Digital, Independent

Until Rain is a progressive metal band from Greece. Now Greece has been one of my favorite countries for some while and for many different reasons but I really didn't know any metal bands from there. So when I found this band I was more than curious to see how their country does in the metal scene. And one thing's certain, I'm impressed. Anthem to Creation is definitely not your everyday album being very technical, evolved and simply enormous in length!

From what I understood, Until Rain is the brainchild of guitarist Theodore Amaxopoulos and keyboardist Lefteris Germenlis. And these guys have serious songwriting skills being able to handle both usual 4-5 minute long songs and colossal 10+ minute long Goliaths without getting repetitive or boring. Just to get a good feel for the album I think the best song to start with is the opening track "Brain Death". Just so you know what you're getting into this is going to be an "In Your Face!" style song because the riffs are very heavy and progressive, the solos are insane and the chorus very catchy.

In fact, in terms of songwriting, the entire album is way above average prog metal. And there's quite a lot coming together to do that! Firstly, the guitarwork is phenomenal! I'm talking Dream Theater territory here. In fact, there is a very accentuated similarity between these "nobody's" from Greece and the old progressive metal legends like the all-mighty Dream Theater and Symphony X. In terms of riffs, grooves, drums and time signatures there is all Dream Theater going on but there's just something about the leads, especially the guitar / keyboard duels that just screams out Symphony X. So there's no doubt that these guys draw their inspiration from the old greats but what about originality? After all there's nothing too impressive about a copycat and from the first audition of songs like "My Own Blood" or "Empty Helmet" you could be tempted to say: "Meh, Dream Theater wannabes!". Well don't be so judgemental because the Greeks definitely have their own visions about the music and have placed them quite beautifully into the songs. The overall sound of the album is quite different from most of the stuff I've heard, mainly as a result of the vocals, keyboards and the orchestral bit of the music. They have created a very smooth blend of dynamic and mellow, heavy but melodic and some very inspired contrasts between the two faces of their art. There is actually a lot of authenticity in here but you need to dig into the album in order to get it. Don't expect to understand it by streaming the album once.

So this is technical, heavy, intellectual and evolved. That's pretty much prog in a nutshell. Now let's get to the emotional side of things. After all, you listen to music to enjoy it not just to analyse. Well remember about that balance between contrasts I was talking about just a bit earlier. That means that despite all the proggy music theory mumbo-jumbo, the album is quite catchy and full of hooks, especially in the choruses. Another great aspect that makes "Anthem to Creation" so enjoyable is the vocal. Yannis Papadopoulos brings a very distinct voice, a lot of power and emotion and proves a very impressive range of notes that he can pull of effortlessly. Or at least it sounds this way because even in the highest and loudest notes he somehow seems very relaxed in his singing. Also there have been added many layers and effects to the vocals to give a massive and majestic sound if the song demands it. This is also supported by the choirs that he arranged and conducted for the album and by a few backing vocal additions by Vicky Psarakis. I was very positively impressed to find out she's featured on this album after knowing her from "The Agonist" which follows a completely different musical direction and has a much larger fan-base. And she also took part along with Yannis in writing the lyrical content.

Now when dealing with so many elements from so many directions you may wonder what concepts and ideas does this album offer. To make it as simple as possible, this album is about the world, or how they refer to it, the "Creation". They actually cover a number of difficult and intelligent topics such as war, religion and the way human kind is destroying the planet. This last one is the subject of the eighteen minute long title track which is a massive piece of skill, virtuosity and emotion going through so many moods from rebellion and rage against mankind's actions to fear, judgement, and deep wisdom. There is also a very beautiful twist in the lyrics where sometimes it is the human race speaking and revealing its carelessness, greed and arrogance and then it is the "creation" who shows all its grandeur and beauty and the way all its gifts are being consumed and decayed without any thought or mercy, giving way for vengeance on nature's behalf.

All this complexity, creativity and harmony in music is bound to make a sensation and for a prog listener like myself , Until Rain is straight up my alley. Still the entire album does sum up almost one hour and twenty minutes of music and that makes it quite a challenge to listen to the entire thing from the beginning to the end. Besides that though, there is not much I can complain about. This is yet another great unknown spreading it's magnificence in the depths of the underground metal scene like so many others who don't get the recognition they deserve. But they did get something else though. They got Jens Bogren to mix and master this massive creation and that means that you will hear everything they have to offer at a seriously high quality of sound and the grooves will kick you in the stomach with all the punch and power they can possibly get. I don't know how such an unknown band got this guy to work on their album but I'm glad they did because with that beautiful production as a topping, "Anthem to Creation" is complete.

Becoming one of the better prog/power metal bands - 80%

TrooperOfSteel, July 16th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2013, Digital, Independent

From out of Thessaloniki in Greece comes Until Rain, a progressive metal band who is currently making a few waves in the metal scene. Not a new band (not name-wise anyway), Until Rain formed in 2004 however went through a series of name changes before settling on Until Rain in 2009 (Delear, Delirium and Theimeurgia).

After releasing a demo in 2009 under the Theimeurgia name, it wasn’t until the vocalist at the time left enabling the band to continue as Until Rain, also bringing in new vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos. The remainder of the band includes guitarist Teo Amaksopoulos, Drummer Alex Hughes, and keyboardist Lefteris Germenlis. Bassist Orestis Fikos departed the band after their debut release in 2009 ‘The Reign Of Dreams’, and replaced by current bassist Bill Gkagkavouzis. Since the debut, Until Rain released an eight track EP entitled ‘Pandemic’ in 2011 before embarking on their sophomore and latest effort, the matured and well rounded album ‘Anthem to Creation’, which was released in August of 2013 and released through Escape Music, a small label established in England.

With song lyrics covering typical prog metal themes such as life, dreams and allegory, Until Rain’s sound is a mix of many musical elements such as prog, melodic and experimental metal, art rock and electronic music sometimes combined with extreme metal elements. The band fits itself nicely between the melodic progressive metal of Shadow Gallery or Circus Maximus, the prog/power metal of Cloudscape, Kingcrow and Prototype, and the more epic orchestral power of Symphony X or Time Requiem. It’s a great blend of well known facets and a unique take on the progressive metal genre with the inclusion of Greek folklore in both lyrics and melodies.

Previously performing with fellow Greek band Firewind, Until Rain have been touring England and Europe promoting their new CD, opening for Damnation Angels and Andromeda in a triple-threat prog/power metal show. The new release has also been winning over fans, with the disc reaching 3rd place in a poll for the “album of the week” segment for Revolver Magazine. Doing a wonderful job of the producing, mixing and mastering is the well known Jens Bogren, who has worked with a plethora of bands including Symphony X, Soilwork, Rotting Christ, Paradise Lost, Opeth, Kreator, Grand Magus, Dark Tranquillity and Amon Amarth.

‘Anthem To Creation’ is indeed a great album that will appeal to the bands mentioned above. Creatively written, the disc shows great promise and a matured and multi-layered sound of a band that knows what they want to achieve with their unique style of progressive/power metal. And of course with prog metal, bands like Until Rain love the lengthy tracks and on ‘Anthem to Creation’ there are two mammoth songs that travel over 10 minutes. The just shy of 11 minutes “Empty Helmet” is an anti-war song that tells the story of a soldier who no longer wants to be a part of war. The track is quite superb, very emotional and contains many facets of the band’s own unique style. Multiple tempo changes, orchestral and atmospheric elements and the right mix of prog and power with the guitar riffs and melodies, the track is one of the best IMO.

Then we have the gigantic 18 minute title track “Anthem to Creation”, where we see the full potential of this band in terms of song writing, creativeness, maturity and musical prowess. Vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos has a wonderful voice, quite soothing to hear but can also be quite gritty and dark when needed. Almost angelic, Yannis’ power and range is extraordinary; able to reach the high notes with ease. The title track again is multi-layered/tempo, with many instrumental passages within its rather long 18 minute frame, which many progressive metal fans will definitely appreciate.

Aside from those two great tracks, there are plenty of other treasures on this disc, including the ferocious power/prog killer “Living Hell”, the melodic power/prog unofficial single “Think Again” (official lyrical video on Youtube), the crushing and fierce number “The Clang of Shields Part 1” and the catchy and technical opening track “Brain Death”.

Until Rain are definitely a very talented bunch of musicians who are starting to bloom just at the right time, with their exceptional brand of prog/power metal featured on this album. While word of their music is slowly making its way round the globe, Until Rain are making waves in Europe and England and it won’t be long before the rest of the world catches wind. ‘Anthem to Creation’ is one of the better prog/power metal releases I’ve heard in some time and fans of the genre that would also include bands like Kingcrow, Symphony X, Prototype, Cloudscape and Shadow Gallery will positively and thoroughly enjoy the wonderful progress that Until Rain are making right now.

(Originally written for www.themetalforge.com)