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Effloresce - Coma Ghosts CD (album) cover

COMA GHOSTS

Effloresce

 

Progressive Metal

3.87 | 52 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Coma Ghosts' - Effloresce (8/10)

Some months ago, I was introduced to Effloresce through their first- and at the time only- release, an EP that instantly screamed a fusion of the most trademarked elements of both Dream Theater and Opeth. While I was impressed with Effloresce's musical ability and even some of their songwriting chops, I ultimately felt that the band had fallen short in terms of creating a lasting musical experience, thanks in no small part due to the derivative nature of their sound. As female-fronted bands in metal go, Effloresce were certainly one of the better acts I had had the pleasure of hearing, but I wondered if they would ultimately go down in history as 'that Opeth band with the female vocalist'. 'Coma Ghosts' is now their start in the world of full-length recordings, an hour of progressive metal which has seen some much-desired improvement in the areas where I thought the band could use some work. Although their influences are still evident, I can say that Effloresce has broken out of the Opeth-worship pit that I feared would swallow them, and in doing so, have created one of the strongest prog metal albums to come out lately.

At least one thing I mentioned when reviewing the EP still stands: while I have generally seen the female-fronted metal band to be a format that favours bands who sacrifice instrumental integrity in order to make their vocalist the centre of attention, Effloresce has always been a band that enjoys a well-rounded contribution from all musicians. Vocalist Nicki Weber's voice plays a central role in Effloresce's music, but a sense of instrumental complexity sets this band apart from the legions of cookie-cutter symphonic metal bands that have stigmatized the female-fronted approach. Not only that, but Weber's incredibly melodic voice works very well for the music that Effloresce does. Although the riffs and thunderous drum work seems to take a hint from the European melodic death world, Weber's higher pitched, near-operatic delivery soars over without ever pushing the instruments into the background. This may be in part due to the legendary Dan Swano's expert mixing of the album, but Effloresce have cleverly avoided falling into some of the ruts I may have once suspected for them.

The songwriting and arrangement on 'Coma Ghosts' is nothing short of ambitious. Effloresce are still something of a disciple of the prog-death powerhouses Opeth, but their music feels valid and relevant to the current metal scene. From more mellowed-out jazz tunesmanship ('Swimming Through Deserts') or death metal intensity ('Pavement Canvas') or even that welcome prog metal archetype, the 16 minute epic, Effloresce root themselves very firmly within the 'prog metal' school. Given the aging prog metal canon in 2012, some of the risks that Effloresce take feel superfluous, such as having a 'Part 1' to the second track 'Spectre' and implying a sequel in the next album. Where Effloresce strikes gold however is in their tasteful melange of bands that proggers will instantly identify, but using those disparate elements in order to create something that feels relatively fresh. An excellent album, and it's a pleasure to see the potential I first heard in Effloresce to blossom like this.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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