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Menahem - Menahem CD (album) cover

MENAHEM

Menahem

 

Progressive Metal

4.00 | 2 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Menahem are a glorious act with intricate musicianship and uplifting lyrics!

The first taste of great prog metal act, Menahem was a glorious experience. I was shocked at two things in particular. Firstly, the sheer musicianship that is as good as Dream Theater at times although the singer is more like the traditional metal voice, a type of Ronnie James Dio style but quite easy to understand; no caustic gravelly vocals here thankfully. The guitars are extraordinary, Marc and Aires duel often in extended lead breaks, with very inventive time signatures that chop and change with technical precision; the drums by Marc are tight and lightning fast tempos merge with strong rock beats. Secondly, the most surprising thing was the lyrics, which are full on Christian, Biblical lyrics. Therefore, although it was not stipulated on the website, the band are definitely Christian and it is a welcome relief to all the dark prog that is emerging these days. The result is an uplifting metal group with positive encouraging lyrics, and extremely innovative stylised musicianship.

Each of the three tracks were released on the debut album "Angels and Shadows", so this is more a taster albeit an excellent one.

'Angels and Shadows' is the first treat and it is a blast of prog riffing; the intro is a killer riff and then a fabulous keyboard motif from Oliviera begins with overlayed bass from Scates to produce the similar sound of Dream Theater. The verses slow down while the vocalist begins his message of hope: 'Angels and Shadows fight in the skies, Light and darkness show their power, The King will return in the end There are definite influences of James La Brie and it is indeed exceptional metal vocals. The riffs chug along at strange tempos, missing beats and dropping time changes to form some very complex prog metal riffs. The lead break is replete with hammer offs and speed picking, with that fret melting metal style headbangers love. There is a nice slow section with souring guitar melodies and beautiful harmonics, and it is quite a lengthy section to revel in. What a brilliant introduction to this band.

'Ocean of Tears' begins with sounds of the waves crashing and a lulling acoustic melody. There is a flute sound hovering over the top and a melancholy sound is created. Ambient and uplifting lyrics chime in. The quiet verses have nice harmonies and some heartfelt singing: 'God show me the path, If you are, give me one more chance, God show me the path, If you are, forgive me.' The time sig is still very much broken into odd meters but this is more accessible to the average listener. Van Ranna continues to plead for God to forgive him, and then a lovely lead break using wah wah pedals and whammy bar breaks out. The piano is great on this too and a very heavy slow distorted guitar crashes in at the end verse.

'Trip Beyond The Mind' is sensational. This is the track that introduced me to Menahem; the one I heard on the prog radio, and I made an effort to write the name of the track down to explore more and I am so pleased I did. The third track absolutely kicks with amazing riffs that break and chug into intricate melodies. Once again the lyrics are about knowing God and following him, based on Revelation, the second coming of Christ: 'But now I can hear, The sound of the trumpet, It is Your voice that I go after, They can even try to hold me, I can fly with the angels, I know that my destiny is in the hands of God'. The riff continues to crunch along with some odd timing that surprises the ear. There is an excellent half time feel at 2:53 where Marc's double kick drums pummel and a slow riff merges into a Dream Theaterish hammering riff. The wah wah lead guitar trades off masterfully with the keyboard wizardry of Oliveira. Marc and Aires duel guitar lead solos are freakish and this continues for a while until a fast strange little riff blazes forth and then we return to the original riff and another verse. This is the reason we love prog metal! Virtuoso playing and creative riffing are Menahem's forte. At the end a speed riff chugs into a final swooping crescendo. Awesome!

It is better to get the whole album of course but if you see this and want a cheap intro to Menahem I think you should go for it, but I can almost guarantee you will be wanting more. I love this band and kudos for the Christian content that I always welcome as it is so rare these days to get a good Christian band with decent musicianship. Of course you don't need to be a believer to get into this as Menaham are highly skilled metal shredders and so refreshing to the prog metal genre.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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