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Arch / Matheos - Winter Ethereal CD (album) cover

WINTER ETHEREAL

Arch / Matheos

 

Progressive Metal

3.90 | 97 ratings

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Norbert
5 stars Winter Ethereal is the second full-length studio album by the progressive metal project of guitarist Jim Matheos and  singer John Arch. Sympathetic Resonance, their debut from 2011 is one of my favourite Progressive Metal albums ever, so I was very excited to hear about a second album after 8 years. The artwork is quite nice, far better, than the front cover of the debut. Jim and John probably wanted to avoid any misunderstanding and internal  tensions, so the current rhythm section of Fates Warning does not appear together in any song of Winter Ethereal, although both bassist Joey Vera, both drummer Bobby Jarzombek play on the album. There are numerous musicians in the rhythm section, maybe former Fates Warning members, bassist Joe DiBiase and drummer Mark Zonder,  plus the drummer of Leprous, Baard Kohlstad, and especially bass players Sean Malone (Formerly with Cynic and Gordian Knot) and Steve Di Giorgio (Formerly with Death) are the most notable. Former Fates Warning guitarist Frank Aresti plays the guitar solo in two songs. The line-up is completed by drummers Thomas Lang and Matt Lynch, plus a certain George Hideous appears in the song called Tethered on bass guitar, who is most possibly Jim Matheos himself... Winter Ethereal has 9 tracks in about 68 minutes, the shortest track is Straight and Narrow  with 4 minutes, the longest is the concluding Kindred Spirits with almost 13 minutes. The remaining songs are between  5 and 9 minutes. Musically Winter Ethereal is a continuation of Smypathetic Resonance, a dynamic powerhouse of unbridled progressive metal passion, rooted in the beginnings of this kind of music without sounding nostalgic and out of date. These are quite intricate progressive heavy metal songs, well written and varied, performed by exceptional musicians and a brilliant singer. The voice of John Arch, and his high pitched vocal style, and his ornamented vocal lines are probably an aquired taste for many, but I am always impressed by his performance. Winter Ethereal sounds a bit heavier and more dense than, the debut, otherwise it is not very different,  but I do not see this as a problem. Musicians approaching their 60s rarely reinvent themselves, and especially rarely in a positive way. Secondly, there is no drop in quality, no sub-par track on Winter Ethereal. If this turns out to be the last album featuring John Arch, this is a worthy way to close his career as singer. I see no reason to rate Winter Ethereal lower than Sympathetic Resonance.
Norbert | 5/5 |

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