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Marsyas - Emergence CD (album) cover

EMERGENCE

Marsyas

 

Heavy Prog

3.95 | 3 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Coming from Bergamo, Italy, the Heavy Prog band Marsyas has released their debut album in January of 2020 after being together since 2014. The quintet of Francesco Luzzana (bass, backing vocals), Marco Adibati (guitar), Omar Ghezzi (drums), and Paolo Salvi (keyboards, synths) have taken the sounds of heavy prog perfected by bands like Porcupine Tree and IQ and added in nice doses of jazz fusion and traditional Italian elements to create a sound of their own.

Their debut album "Emergence" is a well-made album that spotlights this sound that they have perfected over the years of their collaboration. The album is made up of 8 tracks that mostly run around 6 minutes or more each for a total run time of almost 55 minutes. The album opens with the track "Far as Far Run Thoughts" with an atmospheric and pensive feel with Lorenzo's vocals coming in early. The vocals are pleasant as the keys and guitar build excitement that accumulates to the nice guitar and piano riffs that surround this track which soon builds to an upbeat and stirring opening. The track is great enough, but after 3 minutes, takes a progressive turn with a solid combination of guitar and keys, and then some dynamic turns as it moves to a more pensive feel again. All of this combined together definitely brings elements of the best of your favorite heavy prog bands and you can hear the influences of the previously mentioned bands and even elements of Oceansize and Riverside. It's all there and it's all done quite well.

To show that this band is serious and will use all possible sounds to strengthen their ties to the sub-genre, "Wait for the Tide" starts with a boiling organ and quick moving, melodic guitar riffs to even harken back to the inspiration of early prog artists, and then, to prove that they are not just here to copy that sound, they through in a jaunty Italian gigue sound in the guitar melody. Soon, an upbeat melody comes through in the vocals, that combines song and spoken word with some echoing vocal effects in the background. The traditional Italian element mixes quite well with the heavy prog guitar. It's not enough though to leave the music at that as the track moves to a more atmopsheric feel and the airy vocals reflect the pensive feel of strummed guitar chords that are underlayed by sustained keys. A beautiful piano solo takes over as the music floats along. Soon, the guitar comes in and brings back a level of intensity. The track builds excitement and even flirts with the boundaries of progressive metal before it all comes to an end.

"Like Water" begins with shimmering guitars and piano and now flirts with a nice jazzy feel before it explodes into raging guitar which eventually gives way to a thoughful softness. Another sudden explosion of heaviness finally brings in the vocals at the 3 minute mark. The guitar and organ mix together well creating a dark atmosphere and the music continues to dynamically vary from heavy to soft, but without falling in a trap of initiating anything predictable, even with the non- traditional lyrical structure. The ending reverts to the jazzy feel of the piano again to bring it to an end. Great track!

There continue to be plesant surprises around every corner as the album continues. There is the rousing guitar solo in "No Time for an End"; the interplay of the bass, piano and guitar in the catchy hook of "Palace of the Living" which also hints at black metal only to drop off to a moody, almost pastoral section, and then suddenly go jazzy and complex; and the excellent ever changing landscapes of "The Dance of the Archangels".

One thing that remains constant is the excellent and dynamic changes in the music that never allows itself to grow stagnant. There are beautiful passages of rhapsodic piano and playful synth, but along with that there are solid, heavy guitar riffs and dark heaviness that always keeps the music in a mostly accessible realm, but also being progressive enough to never get boring. The music is well written, performed and sung all the way through, and there are many unexpected turns that will keep you entranced, while, all the while, there is a nice balance of keys and guitar, heavy and pensive, playful and heavily moody. The band has taken their time to produce an engaging debut album, and this is one that will appeal to most anyone that love their progressive music on the unpredictable side, yet still retains an accessible edge for instant satisfaction and likeability. Even with all of this movement into different sub-genres, the overall feel definitely stays in the realm of the best heavy progressive bands.

Highlights here are "Wait for the Tide", "As Water", "Palace of the Living", and "The Dance of the Archangels". The tracks are all strong and engaging, however, and I doubt there are many that this music will not appeal to. Lovers of the previously mentioned bands should definitely be interested in hearing this excellent album. Except for a few places where the singing falters a bit and in a few of the weaker tracks, this album really shines and those weaknesses will hardly be noticeable. For all around excellent heavy prog, this band is one to stay on the lookout for.

TCat | 4/5 |

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