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Infringement - Alienism CD (album) cover





3.93 | 27 ratings

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4 stars Hailing from Oslo, Norway, Infringement is a Neo-prog band that began in 2015, formed by Stig Andre Claison (guitar, vocals), Kristoffer Utby (drums, vocals), Hans Andreas Brandal (lead vocals), and Espen Larsen (bass). In November of 2019, the band released it's 2nd album, called "Alienation", which sees the original band return with the addition of a 5th member, Bard Torstensen (keyboards). The album is available on CD, LP and Bandcamp. It consists of 4 tracks and has a total run time of 40 minutes.

"Alienism" is a concept album that centers around the journals of a commissioner from a psychiatric hospital called Gentmire Institute. The album begins with "Disorder" (7:58). The track starts quietly with acoustic guitar and an almost toy piano effect. The music builds as synths add a symphonic feel, then a sudden progressive outburst of guitar chords levels things out while a guitar plays supported by a moderately slow beat, and then the vocals begin. The vocalist conveys the thoughts of an unsettled mind, and the backing vocals support that feeling. Nice short instrumental passages fill in the spaces between the vocal sections. The song has all of the expected Neo-prog elements; changing melodies and textures, varying from soft to heavy sections, the music following the attitude of the story/lyrics, a great balance of guitar and synth throughout, story telling vocals and great instrumentals, and just the right touch of a symphonic edge.

"Triad" (10:37) continues in the same vein as the previous track, maybe a bit more melodic and a steadier beat at first, which soon becomes more progressive as the organ and guitar take their turns showing off a bit, and then the whole thing taking a sudden, more chaotic turn with the vocals becoming more frantic, the music more intense, the beat faster. All the while, the vocals are quite clear, easy to understand and each instrument is clear and crisp. Later, an a cappella section shows off the band's ability to harmonize and sing in contrasting parts. This gives way again to another progressive and somewhat chaotic section, but always giving way to return to the softer sound of the beginning. Around 6 minutes, the band whistles the melody as the meter changes and the music reflects a bit of uneasy insanity, the vocals becoming more unhinged. It all accumulates to a midtempo guitar solo that is quite melodic and entrancing.

"Therapy" (4:36) begins with a pizzicato guitar and mid-tempo beat that builds in tension for a minute before the vocals come in. This time, the chorus has a nice falsetto vocal where the lyrics are repeated by another voice speaking the same words that are being sung. The tension continues build as the track continues into the 2nd verse and everything ties itself up with some release of the tension closing the track.

"Delirium" (16:56) begins with a more mellow sound with vocals and layers of synth. Soon, a beat is established, the band comes in and more guitar comes in to carry the track forward for a while, then the synths come back in giving it a lush feel, but the guitars build some intensity before the vocals return. The music reaches a resolve about 4 minutes in and there is some excellent interplay between the guitar and synth as the tempo steadies out and the music becomes smoother. The vocals return, then just before 6 minutes, everything shifts again with a tricky meter supported by organ and guitar, and then the tension breaks again as the music steadies itself for a while. At 9 minutes, everything picks up again, the drums push forward, there are some meter shifts and tempo changes, then there an excellent vocal section and the music moves through some complexities before calming down to a very symphonic feel with the synths providing nice orchestral effects. The music almost becomes cinematic for a while. A solo piano brings things down to earth before the 14 minute mark, and the band returns as the piano leads the was with a straightforward, yet nice instrumental section. In the last minute, the music swells, a nice synth solo takes over and builds the music to it's final climax.

This is an excellent Neo-prog album, and it should be a highlight for the year, at least for lovers of the Neo-prog genre. There is an excellent balance of instrumentation throughout, some great progressive passages, excellent vocals and plenty of highlights. It all comes across as being well produced, the band is on point and the music is interesting, exciting and never boring. You will hear many influences here, along with several twists and surprises, but overall, the music is excellent Neo- prog with some elements of Symphonic sections in a few areas. Even though it doesn't quite make the 5 star level, it is close to that, and many may find that it is a favorite. I find the band to be one that I will be watching closely in the future.

TCat | 4/5 |


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