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5 stars The bands' first album (Time Must Have A Stop) seemed to pass by relatively un-noticed by the reviewers here but luckily I bought the album on a personal recommendation. I would describe the music as melodic progressive metal with the sublime vocals typical of many Polish bands of the last decade. Lovers of bands such as Moonrise, Indukti, Riverside and particularly the Swedish band Wolverine will find this music of interest. The essential guitar playing in this genre are interplayed beautifully with the keyboards. The songs flow easily and unlike a lot of metal these days the structure is focused on strong, forceful melody rather than fancy individual musicianship.....and, as such they could easily be catorgorised as neo-prog. This follow up album has equally pleased me......the guitars and keyboards are expertly intertwined with the efficient and often striking, but simple drumming. But the vocals of this band steal the limelight and give the band their very distinctive sound. I would give this band just a shade under 4.5 stars mainly because they have kept to the same formula as their debut album, however don't let that put you really is a wonderful album that sits Votum as a great Polish prog band to keep an eye on.
Report this review (#261161)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Boasting much, much better production and overall songwriting than debut "Time Must Have A Stop', Votum's 'Metafiction' is about as good as it gets for straightforward progressive metal. Vast, spacious and mellower than Riverside, there is some amazingly tasteful guitar work on display here, along with a lead vocalist who...*gasp*...doesn't sound like everyone else! Holy monkeycrabs!!!!!

Basically, I find it difficult to have qualms with a progressive metal album that knows that less is more. The noticeable lack of cheesy keyboards solos is also a plus, and these factors and more contribute to my overall impression that this may be among the best that came out in the progressive metal world in 2009.

A shame, then, that nobody else has bothered to find out this truth.

Report this review (#261187)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars After being so impressed with their debut "Time Must Have A Stop" I must admit my expectations were very high for this one. Maybe too high. This album still has that dark atmosphere but they've cut back on the heaviness leaving me a little disappointed overall at what they've created here. This is still a good record, in fact for those getting into this band for the first time I expect mostly 4 and 5 stars. I knew from the first listen that this wasn't as good as the debut, too laid back for one but also the songs aren't as good except for the last one. As I mentioned in my review of their debut lyrics are very important to them over everything else and I think they've comprimised the music here as a result. By the way the packaging with this cd is really well done.

"Falling Dream" is dark and atmospheric to start. Reserved vocals arrive after 1 1/2 minutes then it turns quickly into this ballad-like tune with backing vocals. Not a good start. "Glassy Essence" is heavy and uptempo but then it settles when the vocals arrive around a minute.The tempo continues to shift somewhat. Nice guitar late. A much better tune. "Home" builds quickly but settles just as fast when the reserved vocals come in. A calm with atmosphere 2 minutes in. Reserved vocals are back before 3 1/2 minutes then it picks up again.

"Faces" reminds me some of the later FATES WARNING albums, dark atmosphere with no outbreaks. "Stranger Than Fiction" is heavier and more uptempo with vocals. Some growls here after 2 1/2 minutes and later at 4 minutes. "Indifferent" opens with piano as fragile vocals come in. Drums follow then it's full after 3 1/2 minutes. "December 20th" is by far my favourite track. Atmosphere and reserved vocals to start, it's heavier a minute in. It sounds like "Damnation" 5 minutes in. Heavy again at 6 minutes.

3.5 stars.This may grow to 4 stars. As I said earlier I think most will love this record but for me it's a step down from the debut.

Report this review (#282061)
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Votum have been quoted as saying that the atmosphere of the music is the primary drive behind their music, and this statement comes through very clearly in both their albums, but more so on Metafiction.

Metafiction is beautiful in it's composition from beginning to end and has no low points. In my opinion it is a much more mature and melodic offering than their superb debut while still retaining a very dark tone from beginning to end. The production has also taken a step up with this release.

I was surprised to notice in my iTunes the other day just how many times I had listened to this album (and that doesn't cover my mp3 player). Simply put, it's a very easy listen for multiple moods and is so professionally put together it never gets boring. As just a second release this is an amazing effort and it's staggering to think where Votum could go from here.

Votum have invented a style all of their own and managed to achieve the seemingly impossible - a dark, energetic yet melodic offering from beginning to end that never gets boring. For fans of Riverside, Lunatic Soul, Phideaux or even Agalloch or quality music in general you can't get better than this.

A well deserver 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion showing excellent progression in maturity and musicianship from their excellent debut. I can't wait for the next release.

Report this review (#288516)
Posted Monday, June 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars After their surprisingly good bebut ("Time Must Have a Stop"), the expectations of Votum's follow-up were high. "Metafiction" is a good album, but not that good, sad to say, because their music is really good. They are real professionals and by hearing any of these seven songs anyone can be sure that they work very hard on their music. The style of the band is melodic progressive metal and their main influences are Porcupine Tree and Riverside.

Lets start with the good things in "Metafiction". The sound is almost excellent and the use of keyboards is perfect, contributing to the emotional impact of the songs without tiring the listener with meaningless solos. Maciej Kosinski is a great singer. His voice is warm and expressive, reminding of Mariusz Duda (Riverside), without the typical polish accent.

On the other hand, each time I listen to the album, I can't avoid thinking that the songs are obviously less inspired compared to their debut. This is a concept album, but I really found it hard to follow, due to the weak lyrics, which are too emotional, introvert and desperate in many parts. The metal elements are less evident here compared to "Time Must Have a Stop" and I think that this represses the band's style and character. The only exceptions are "Stranger Than Fiction" (the only track which includes brutal vocals) and the starting riff in "Glassy Essence", which is my favourite song in the album (great guitar solo). I think that if Votum had followed the recipe of their debut, this album would have been better.

Report this review (#299726)
Posted Sunday, September 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Slower, softer, deeper.

Yes, this album is different than Time Must Have a Stop. Yes, the tendency to aim towards ballads is obvious and yes, it disappoint me a teeny tiny bit.

By no means the album is bad, it's just a change of pace. The band founded it's niche into slower and less claustrophobic atmosphere, instead of burning fuel on the Riverside tangent they experiment on the first album. If your ears don't like to be rubbed the wrong way, you will enjoy this album because it won't mess with your hair often. But then...why so many ballads?

I frankly didn't expect songs structures like those: rythms done by pop-modern keyboards without solos, singing mostly in lower tones, almost whispering at times, a minimum of anger...should I say this is a more romantic album? Yes, yes I do.

Think of heavier Enchant.

..and oh, the screams are more belivable this time; no sodas involved this time.

Report this review (#300005)
Posted Tuesday, September 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Votum is a band with much potential. I recently discovered them, and I fell in love with their melancholy, profound music in the vein of Riverside. Votum indeed is profound. While their music style tends to be softer, deeper, and moodier; their lyrical content is a punch in the gut. They do resemble Riverside in some slight ways, but no more than how some progressive metal bands resemble Dream Theater---the comparison is there, but is of little consequence.

More specifically, Votum has a great mix of music here. I have not purchased their first album yet (though I plan to), and I have heard that it is heavier than "Metafiction". That being said, this album is full of ballads with a few heavier songs thrown in the mix. This does not pull the album down at all, although I will admit that during the first few listens I was wishing for some heavier songs. I must point out, however, that this wish was merely because Votum is so good at the heavy stuff. There are two heavier songs on this album, and both of them are fantastic and very progressive. Overall, though, props should be given to the vocalist and the drummer here. The vocals are outstanding; they are technically incredible as well as emotionally vulnerable. The emotion really comes through here, and this is something I love. The drummer is also to be commended. He concocts some great and unique beats, and does not try to steal the show when the emphasis is on the lyrics or the breathy vocals. All the musicians in this band are exceptional, however.

The theme of this album centers on the idea that we have more than we know. It tells the sad story of a suicidal man who does not stop to see all that he has in the love of his wife and family---and he has even more than that (as seen in the final track). This concept is very profound, and it causes one to stop and "smell the roses".

Track List:

1. "Falling Dream": This is a great opening track that will really grow on you after 4 or 5 listens. It presents the primary theme of the album quite well, but also gives you an idea of the musical concept as well. 9/10.

2. "Glassy Essence": This is easily one of the best tracks on the album. The chorus is incredible, and the medium tempo keeps thing melancholy. 10/10.

3. "Home": This is another great song that presents a lot of emotion, and it provides some great prog rock as well. 8/10.

4. "Faces": This is probably my least favorite song on the album. It is a slow ballad, but there is little in the way of interesting lyrical content or music. The vocals are incredible, to be sure. It is not filler, and it is still enjoyable, however. 6/10.

5. "Stranger than Fiction": This is one of the two heavier tracks on the album, and even involves some screaming at the end. It is really well done, and the drummer really stands out here. 9/10.

6. "Indifferent": This is another slower song on the album that really brings the emotional punch. Again, the vocals are amazing, and the raw humanity here is gut-wrenching. The final act has a faster tempo that perfectly complements the rest of the song. 8/10.

7. "December 20th": This is the best song on the album. It is heavy at parts, breathy in some areas, and amazing as a whole. Not only is musical expertise present, but the vocals and the concept of the album both come to fruition. We see the end of the story, and an emotion low is reached. This is an outstanding track. 10/10.

Overall, this is an exceptional album that just missed "essential" status. I am looking forward to their first album; and, according to the Facebook page, they have a new album coming soon. I will certainly buy this immediately. Votum's "Metafiction" is highly recommended.

Report this review (#815729)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2012 | Review Permalink

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