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Standing Ovation - Gravity Beats Nuclear CD (album) cover


Standing Ovation


Experimental/Post Metal

4.00 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars STANDING OVATION are a Finnish Prog Metal band who have recently released their second album. Of their debut The Antikythera Mechanism (2012) I had listened to YouTube clips only and read a positive review in a prog magazine -- by a non-Metal listener as I am myself too. My first reaction of quick listening to this CD was the usual "f**k, I hate Metal, this music makes me angry!", as I was perhaps hoping for less metallic approach. But already on the second and more patient listening I began to think that this is a very good item of that genre, so well-done and artistically sophisticated that even a person who doesn't enjoy Metal in general can realize its strengths.

The opener '23+23' is an instrumental without any particular Metal elements. Mainly the acoustic guitar and synth weave a melancholic, a bit alienated atmosphere. 'Permafrost' kicks in with a Metal guitar burst and the technically excellent drumming is in plain Metal style, but both know when to leave room for the keyboards and the vocalist. Jouni Partanen has plenty of power in his vocals (which gracefully do not enter the utterly disgusting growl style). He can express both very mean and loving emotions, and the band offers also some vocal harmonies.

Also 'Killer, Iron' is a rather typical Prog Metal rocker, though not very notable Prog elements have appeared yet. 'Hellbillies' is one helluva Speed Metal song from a cannibal's point of view, and it's so over the top and ironic that even I find it sort of amusing and hilarious. The prog aspect increases from the 10-minute 'Fool's Parade' on. The keyboards still don't take Wakemanesque spotlight lead, but I like the way the piano colours the sound. In a little instrumental section there's an accordion-sound, and few minutes later there's a good synth solo.

The greatest highlight is doubtlessly 'Lifeline' (18:20). At least here and there it sounds more like [Symphonic] Prog with Metal nuances than vice versa. The keyboards sound better and better, sometimes remimiscent of MARILLION. The epic proceeds from agony and painful self-searching to the realization of life's wonder and is loaded with powerful emotion. This is possibly the finest Prog Metal epic I've ever heard, not that I know very many of them. The acoustically oriented 'I Am' closes the album in a very delicate manner. "One day I'll see your face / One day I'll hear your voice / One day I'll see your smile / But not yet." A beautiful ending to give the album some conceptual feel too.

I really have to give a good rating to this excellently (self)produced album, even if the genre is not close to me. Warmly recommended to listeners of intelligent Prog Metal.

Matti | 4/5 |


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