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hAND - Breathing CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.51 | 7 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars Post-metal, or rather "Progressive post-punk metal" from the UK. It's not even remotely a genre but just an inadequate attempt to kick this artist in some kind of box, fitting or not.

The combination of Prog with Goth has a couple of forerunners such The Gathering, Tiamat, Katatonia or Nightingale, but none of those are technical as confident as hAND, who display a mathematical precision in the riffing and rhythm section. It sets them apart from their forerunners, and certainly miles away from the more straightforward Goth Metal of Lacuna Coil and the likes. The Gothic element is quite subtle actually, but it sure exists, in Kat's whisper shoegaze vocals, in that tiny bit of reverb on the guitars, in the preference for loud kick drums and various effects such as chorus and delay. In fact there's one classic Goth-Rock band they really remind me off, and that's All About Eve, which is probably due to Kat's vocals. But the most obvious comparison when it comes to their progressive metal influences is surely Katatonia.

These references may be helpful but they are not conclusive. This is really a very original, unique and also challenging album. The capricious style of the music took a really long time to sink in, and it has taken me about 3 months before I felt sure I was ready to finally review the album. Maybe the songs could benefit from a couple of more memorable melodies as - upon the first few listens - my attention tended to drift away by the end of the album. But eventually, this has proven to be a very strong album, be it one that will probably be discarded too quickly by many. There's always tens of other albums to check right...

This is a most welcome and original release in a metal world cluttered with copy-cats. The album would probably have been more successful if it would have had some catchy easy 'songs' instead of the relentless math-rock riff-galore that we now get, but on the other hand, it's guaranteed to be a continued discovery with each listen.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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