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Promethean - Gazing the Invisible CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.30 | 6 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars A baker's dozen of stylistic influences and implementations can be discerned from the get-go on this debut by Promethean. The vocals of Timo Iivari recall his metallic origins blended with a slowed down Andy Latimer timbre. There are certainly brief moments of doom metal and even post metal in the mix. The rich strings convey a neo classical air as well as a sad Eastern European motif. The dancing flutes counterbalance the general sad mood with a celebratory Celtic quality while recalling both Camel and Tull among others. The lead guitars again conjure up both Latimer as well as Dave Gilmour, and I feel there are some 1980s alternative pop forays here and there as well. All is filtered through the darkness of winter above the Arctic Circle. Need I go on? Promethean can only be described as eclectic, and their debut is the poster child for this mishmash genre.

In less skilled hands, proponents of polymusic could come across as technical and efficient but utterly devoid of organics. But Promethean makes it work consistently by adjusting the blend from track to track and within tracks. They do so with a sense of the dramatic yet gracefully, and with uncanny melodic instinct. They also seem to have absorbed the music of the ages and the places into their very being. While each track has plenty to offer, their juxtaposition seems caring and adds to the overall value of this fine recording. The production is suitably cavernous, a big yet oddly compressed and intimate sound is achieved which suits the band.

The three tracks "Gazing", "The", and "Invisible" all display the best of the band's considerable arranging talent, and their strings and flutes are particularly prominent, with added heavy and some fuzzy guitars for greater rock impact. The melody on "Invisible" is simply astounding, carried both by strings and winds in turns. The bracketing of nature sounds accentuates the band's vision of music that integrates all aspects of human experience musically and otherwise.

"Don't mind the Dancer" is a hypnotic song with Iivari's best vocal performance and synergy between the bottom heavy arrangement and the omnipresent flutes of Viljami Jauhiainen in the break. "All Blue is Beautiful" is characterized by disjointed spoken words and screeching synths with a more metallic backdrop. "The Kiss of all that Remains" is ambient with its gentle tribal percussion, sinewy flutes and meditative spoken voice as the band broadens its palate. This seems to have been a holdover from their previous incarnation which was already beginning to stretch out beyond metal.

The closer is the epic if you will, and while it contains interesting elements, the speaking voice is growing weary by now, and most themes have already been explored more concisely; in fact several of the themes are revisited verbatim underneath the dripping water motif. Again a case where the reach exceeds the grasp when it comes to longer tracks. The band had proved it could convey an epic atmosphere in 4 minutes over and over again, so why suddenly get long-winded?

Overall, this is a stunning debut by a band that should have had a lot more influence...instead the album remained largely unheard and invisible. Highly recommended.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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