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Persefone - Shin-Ken CD (album) cover

SHIN-KEN

Persefone

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.18 | 50 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Shin-Ken' - Persefone (7/10)

The third album by the Andorran progressive metallers Persefone shows a steep development in the band's presentation. With my introduction to the band being through the band's second work 'Core', it is difficult not to compare the two, but for the first time, Persefone appears to have finally achieved a production value that properly showcases their talents as a band. Sound like a somewhat more extreme version of Symphony X or Dream Theater with 'Shin-Ken', Persefone appears to have changed up their sound to accommodate the less underground approach, and while it may lack the same strength as 'Core', Persefone has conjured another great album with 'Shin-Ken'.

An album notably themed with Far East and oriental motifs, 'Shin-Ken' adopts many traits that one would typically find in most concept albums. A running sense of musical flow, recurring musical ideas, and an epic scope of ambition fuels Persefone here. Certainly a promising set-up by any standard, but in their transition to a more typical prog metal sound, they do seem to have lost part of what I originally found so endearing in them. Instead of the melancholic riffs and dark, complex compositions that I first heard Persefone play on 'Core', things are much more typical of mainline prog metal. This will not necessarily be a bad thing for all listeners, but as someone who really enjoyed their heavier death metal sound, it would have been nice to hear a little more edge from these guys.

The more streamlined nature of 'Shin-Ken' aside, Persefone does some great things with this modified style. Finally now through some solid production standards, one can hear the band play heavily, softly and everything in between without the muffling effect the weaker production values had in the past. The heavy parts feel somewhat tame here, although Persefone is a big winner when it comes to technical moments. The band is common to kick into a burstfire keyboard solo or soulful guitar lead at the peak of their intensity on 'Shin- Ken', then lapse into a mellow section. As has been typical for these guys, Persefone writes and performs their mellow moments with great beauty. Although some of the interlude pieces here feel somewhat unnecessary to the overall flow of the record, 'Shin-Ken's strength lies in the moments where they let the melody take over.

All in all, Persefone's 'Shin-Ken' is a winner, if not the glorious masterpiece other listeners have made it out to be. New wave keyboards, guitar solos, heavy riffs and interludes aplenty give Persefone a big resonance with the Dream Theater fan inside of me, but for all of its grand improvements, I am still not certain that Persefone moved in the right direction with 'Shin-Ken'.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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