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Mursic - Spawned from a Nightmare CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.00 | 9 ratings

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4 stars Nightmares are rarely such fun

Mursic are a California based band together since 2003 and led by keyboardist/vocalist Anthony Montemarano. They blend together symphonic progressive metal with heavy theatrics and imagery. Influences are diverse, everything from pop to metal to prog rock bands are noted. In 2014 they released an accomplished and entertaining feast of an album, "Spawned from a Nightmare."

Their album has that modern theatrical concept feel you get from albums like "The Black Parade" or even "Scenes from a Memory", with plenty of expressive bombast. There's a Freddie Mercury showmanship to the festivities, and dare I say there is a slight dark operatic undercurrent that reminded me of Italian progressive rock. These guys have the spirit of modern RPI running through several tracks, without question, despite being a metal band from California.

Spirited symphonic metal complete with heavy riffs and occasional blast drumming are adorned with all manner flamboyance. There are a mixture of modern keyboards and piano-which is my favorite. Short classical piano bits along with glorious violin/viola embellish several tracks. The strings in "Down Came the Sky" are a perfect addition that sound very natural as opposed to just a tacked-on curiosity. The lead vocals are theatrical, he very much embodies characters as in a musical, but also layers on harmonies for extra lushness. There are some great moments of lead guitar and drumming prowess as well, but the album truly focuses on an overall sound, and thankfully not on being just set-ups for solos.

While the wild and heavier tracks should thrill the adrenalin seekers it was the short and quieter moments that initially piqued my interest. Both "Bella Aurora" and "Dreamer" are brief but beautiful piano/keys interludes providing nice breathers and some balance between light and heavy. And in fact several of the heavy tracks themselves have lighter sections which give them richness and varied mood. For an unsigned act it sounds like they put a ton of work into the recording and it paid off in clarity and muscle, even streamed the album sounds great. But the best feature is that the album is simply very entertaining start to finish.

The album art and the visual style of the band may strike some hard core proggers as a bit "pomp metal cheese" but it would be a mistake to quickly write them off because of this. These guys know how to mix melodies with interesting and complex playing. The album has charms that should appeal not only to mainstream metal fans but Crossover and fans of darker tinged/heavier Neo-prog albums.

I didn't expect much when I stumbled across this album as I admit sometimes cover art like this leaves me unmoved, strikes me as cartoonish, etc. I'm not generally into symphonic metal period. But the music offered more than my preconceptions. This is a band who still believes it owes the audience a show, a festive carnival atmosphere, something more than just their substantial musical chops.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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