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5 stars The contemporary prog scene has two main areas: the first is that of the fairly legendary bands who focus on keeping their reputation, whilst the second being that of the newly formed bands that want to emulate the aforementioned. The problem is that legendary bands try to find the freshness they had when they were just a newly formed band. Simultaneously, newly formed bands simply try to play like the bands they love, in order to eventually find their own originality. In both cases, usually, the plan fails. But there is a thin line that the majority of the bands barely notice these days. Well, except for some, except for bands like Effloresce.

This debut album is a perfect example of how music in an european cultural context should evolve. If by progressive we understand the kind of music that wants to create, not emulate, then yes, Effloresce is trully a progressive band. Spacey keyboards open up the first piece, paving the way for some complex heavy riffs matched accordingly with amazing drum lines. Going through "Spectre Pt. I", I had the feeling of stepping over an interestingly paved musical journey, with epic vocal lines and haunting guitar melodies leading the way. Eerie voices and dissonant distorted guitars maintain the same feeling over the third song as well, ending up into "Undercoat", one of the most intimate songs I've heard in many years. With a more melancholic note, "Swimming through Deserts" captures those dreamy prog soundscapes we all love, only to just twist the matters once again. The last composition stands both as a magnificent conclusion and as a prog epic that listeners will be greatly tempted to revere as one those great compositions that only a top prog act can create.

However, what must be said and remembered about this album is not that it has a certain "centre" song (because they're all awesome, at any level of interpretation), but that it tries to push musical language in a coherent and unified way. If you spin the album a couple of times, you'll see that it is a voice in itself, a wall of force, that concentrates its attention on creating alegorically constructed images through sound. The listener is thus engaged in applying the album to his intuitive understanding, his internal ear, without being forced to take the music in a certain way.

Technically speaking, the album is very well recorded and produced. The musicianship is superb and, above that, there is only one Dan Swanö . Nothing more to say. Great work!

Overall, I hope that there will be more debuts as creative as this is. As Goethe once wrote, "Ich lieg' dir zu Füßen, / Da bin ich beglückt!". 5/5

Report this review (#627001)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although the German progressive metal scene has plenty of established veterans like Sieges Even, Vanden Plas, and Mekong Delta, the country hasn't had too many young voices to carry the torch in recent years. Judging by their killer debut album, Effloresce may very well be the next big progressive metal export from Germany - Coma Ghosts shows a band with a very firm grasp on how to deliver amazing prog metal while still pushing the boundaries of the genre, and the fact that this level of maturity is obtained on a debut album is admirable. In short, Coma Ghosts is a professional, memorable, and original observation that should be satisfying metal fans well into 2012 and beyond!

Opeth, particularly on albums like Blackwater Park and Watershed, is clearly a large influence to Effloresce. While their sound is not entirely dependent on these Swedish veterans, the mix of 70's progressive rock, melodic death metal, and folk found throughout much of Coma Ghosts makes the reference almost inevitable. Effloresce makes their main distinction from Opeth by keeping the death metal influences to a minimum, and instead including more traditional-sounding progressive metal sections as well as an occasional gothic atmosphere. Female vocalist Nicki Weber also helps give Effloresce a voice of their own, and her powerful clean pipes and occasional black metal-styled rasps are an integral part of the band's style. Although I tend to think that her harsh vocals could've been integrated into the music a bit more convincingly and delivered with more power, it's a rather minor flaw in the long run since the majority of the vocals here are excellent clean singing.

While the Opeth comparison is rather invalid throughout much of the album (songs like "Crib" bear little resemblance to the Swedes), a song like "Swimming Through Deserts" could very well be the creation of Mikael Akerfeldt with the addition of a beautiful soprano vocalist. The 70's-styled progressive rock with a jazzy, folky, and slightly twisted edge will strike a chord with many prog metal listeners, and Effloresce delivers this style just as convincingly as they do when it comes to pummeling metal riffs. Coma Ghosts is one of those rare cases where, even though I'm able to identify plenty of obvious influences in the music, the style is still wholly original. The strength of the composition and execution is what makes Coma Ghosts a truly worthwhile experience, however, and in addition to crafting exceptionally well-written pieces of music, the musicianship is exceptional across the board. Although Effloresce may be relatively new to the scene, their craft as musicians is never questioned on this album.

As an additional bonus, Coma Ghosts was mixed and mastered by Swedish metal legend Dan Swanö of Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, and Bloodbath fame, so you can expect an absolutely killer sound to top things off. Though the relatively unimpressive harsh vocals and occasionally overtly Opethian influence may keep many listeners from calling this a masterpiece, there are still more than enough assets to make this a remarkable album. Effloresce have gotten off on the right foot with this excellent debut offering, and I'll be ecstatic to hear what they have up their sleeves in the coming years. When December rolls around, I have a feeling this will be praised not only as one of the year's most impressive debuts, but also as one of 2012's best progressive metal records - it really is that good! My rating here will be 4 big stars, as well as an easy recommendation to fans of the more organic and melancholic side of prog metal. This is a must-hear if you're into progressive metal that rarely relies on the 'traditional' sound pioneered by the likes of Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Queensryche.

Report this review (#628928)
Posted Wednesday, February 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Effloresce is a band from Germany, that has one EP out for years. Then they signed with Dan Swanö, the Swedish metal legend, to mix their debut album, that is Coma Ghosts.

My expectations for this album weren't that big, I expected some rehearsed ideas from Dream Theater and Opeth. To my surprise, the album doesn't yell at you Dream Theater and Opeth(Well, sometimes it yells Opeth). I find the guitars very similar to the Opeth-style and tones, that's kind of scary. They're very good though, I just wish they don't remind me Opeth so much sometimes. Actually the drums feel pretty similar to Opeth's early recordings such as "Still Life" too, but it has longer sentences and bridges here and there that remind me a bit of Portnoy when he was in Dream Theater. The lovely vocals are their strongest element to bring orginality to the overall experience. I feel good about the growls, as they're not used every now and then. But more importantly, for me, the most beautiful moments of the album lie on her flute. I wish there were flute in every song actually. They are metal, so it doesn't feel like a Jethro Tull rip-off when the music is lead by flute. I believe this kind of differences will bring a more original plate to the table. The rhythm instrument on "Pavement Canvas" is pretty cool too. But I believe the flutes are the strongest instrument of the whole journey. The keyboards on the very beginning of the song "Crib" is another nice factor to make it more prog. "Undercoat" is such an Opeth bridge. "Swimming Through Deserts" bring the Opeth song "Harvest" to the mind. It's pretty sad that these two are in a row so the listener is easily reminded of Opeth. For me the most beautiful moment on the whole album is the lovely flute bridge on the last song, starting on the 7th minute. The 16 minute epic song "Shuteye Wanderer" is my personal favourite.

The production is much more ahead of their EP, and that is a great factor. Each instrument can be heard easily. The compositions and the lyrics work together just fine. My biggest complaint on the album is the lack of original ideas. The way to overcome this is to listen to a lot of different music. There are a lot of styles of prog and jazz. Every music style has some to add to music of any band. Listening is the key for every musician to go beyond his/herself (as Steven Wilson teaches). The most of the prog metal bands need so much to overcome the repetitiveness. To come back to the situation with Effloresce, it's not that bad. They make some neat music. The interesting thing for me is, why they avoid their nation's very inspiring artistic peak, called Krautrock? Hope the band members don't think Krautrock as just the hippie stuff. I hope they'll be a big thing at least in the German music industry. And Germany sure needs another band to be popular around the world than Rammstein(I'm kind of a hater of that band). I'm not in the position to say that Effloresce's music is just rehearsed ideas from some other prog metal bands. But Opeth is obviously a big inspiration for them. I strongly believe that they make their music with every part of their love and they try to bring their personalities in the music. But in my humble opinion, they will need a wider pallette of inspiration in the very near future.

I wish good luck with Effloresce's musical journey, as they've just begun. If nothing goes wrong with the financial situation and if the passion of the band members never ends, I think we have a chance to witness a new Europe band to become popular around the world. This is a solid debut from a band that should have to say much more. I think they should never be afraid of experimenting and discovering new styles, and the door of artistic success will be opened wide for them.

Report this review (#633662)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
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.

Report this review (#648413)
Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the first things I thought as I listened to this album was "these guys sound like...Fates Warning mixed with, that's not it...not at all...." I was immediately struck by this sense of familiarity, and yet I could not put my finger on particular influences. This is a good thing. Another impression I had during the first song was that I felt like I was in a movie ? a very dramatic one. The whole album was not like this, however, but the band played with changing syncopated rhythm patterns, thunderous drums, and driving guitar rhythms throughout. They even have a jazzier side that they demonstrate in Swimming Through Desserts. The album ends with a great 16 minute epic that is worth the cost of the album alone. This is an excellent choice for any fan or female-fronted metal, and I can say that this is an excellent addition to my collection that I will come back to again and again.
Report this review (#723301)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars With many of the big names in progressive metal moving away from (or at least taking a break from) their classic styles, it's nice to hear a newer band that can pull off the genre so convincingly. Opeth is definitely the closest comparison to Effloresce's sound, but with a female vocalist and a greater focus on vocal harmony, the group brings plenty that's fresh and original as well. Furthermore, Coma Ghosts is packed with variety: from crunching riffs to psychedelic atmospheres to melodic solos, there's nary a dull or repetitive moment to be found on the entire album.

'Crib' begins the album with some classic sounding synths before introducing some heavy, almost martial guitar riffs that lead into the introduction of some very powerful female vocals. All the while, of course, the guitar riffs keep on chugging away, providing an excellent heavy background for the strong melodies in the vocals and occasional lead guitar lines. The group shows some Opeth influence with the inclusion of a softer, more atmospheric part in the middle of the track that features ethereal synths and guitars as well as some minimal percussion. Intensity builds back up, however, towards the end of the track, with the same martial riffs from the opening growing louder and louder before a very Dream Theater-esque guitar solo bursts forth. The song closes out with a reprise of the first vocal motif before finishing off with more of those nice, crunchy riffs.

The proggily named 'Spectre Part I: Zorya's Dawn' comes next, and at 10 minutes, it's a doozy. Another excellent riff kicks off the track before the track launches into a killer guitar solo that's again very reminiscent (to my ears, at least) of Opeth. After the solo concludes there's a softer, less distorted guitar part which leads into another great vocal melody. I really have to commend the singer; her vocals range from tender emoting to strident belting and all of the various styles are pulled off with equal aplomb. Adding to the sonic palette is the introduction of growled vocals at about the five minute mark. I understand that not everyone is a fan of this vocal style, but I've always thought that it can give the music a bit of extra punch if used correctly, and that is certainly the case here. Regardless, the growls are used only briefly, and the band shows a remarkable amount of compositional sophistication in transitioning back to a more melodic, atmospheric style. The track closes with a vocal reprise of the track's central motif before ending with a dramatic thunderclap effect.

'Pavement Canvas' begins with another lighter section, featuring some almost jazzy guitar, bass and percussion that play off each other very well in an instrumental introductory section. At about a minute and a half in, a heavier instrumentation takes over, with distorted guitars laying down some crushing riffs that are soon augmented by frenetic percussion and vocals soon after that. 'Pavement Canvas' features some of my favorite vocal moments on the album, with excellent clean melodies and growls that sound even rawer and more brutal than on the previous track. Again, I can hear definite similarities to older Opeth material, but the decidedly different vocal tone and occasionally minimalistic and jazzy atmospheres keep the song from ever sounding like a clone.

'Undercoat,' the shortest track on the album, starts off with some very cool, spacey sounds that provide a nice moment of respite after the particularly intense previous track. Delicate, wavering keyboards and a psychedelic, melodic guitar solo round out the sound of the brief instrumental track and 'Undercoat' ends up being a nice interlude in this intense album.

'Swimming Through Deserts' begins with a very psychedelic sound, and has some of the strongest stylistic similarities to Opeth yet, though this hearkens more to that band's softer material. Excellent atmospheres are the crux of the sound here, with clean, strummed guitar and excellent, understated use of electric as well. 'Swimming Through Deserts' is a great song showing that the band is far from a one track pony-if this song is any indication, Effloresce can do breezy and dreamy as well as they can do brutal and intense.

'Shuteye Wanderer,' however, swings back hard in the other direction. With growls and heavy riffing appearing in the first minute, the track goes for broke with a 16.5 minute running time and a full-on, epic prog metal sound. For about the first 2 minutes the track features a very heavy sound, displaying instrumental prowess before stripping down the sound to introduce vocals. The singing is understated and nuanced, with great use of harmony as well as melody. After this softer section, the heavy riffs come back, and growled and clean vocals switch off for a little while to great effect. What follows after is one of the most surprisingly effective sections on the entire album; a soft, melodic instrumental interlude of sorts featuring a wonderful flute part that manages to integrate itself perfectly into the heaviness of the rest of the track. Vocals return for a brief moment after this before the track launches into another excellent instrumental section, with a killer guitar solo and more satisfyingly crunchy riffing. The final third of the track features another softer section with delicate, harmonized vocals as well as a final reprise of one of the earlier vocal melodies, this time recast over much heavier music. It's a great way to give the song some closure, and by the time the track's last guitar solo fades out I'd venture a guess that most prog-metal fans will find themselves more than satisfied.

Overall, then, Coma Ghosts is an excellent album. While those who couldn't find the classic sound they were looking for on Opeth's 'Heritage' might find what they're looking for here, writing this band off as a simple Opeth clone would be a foolish mistake. Effloresce show an impressive degree of sophistication on this, their first full length album, and I heavily suspect that the prog community will be hearing a lot more from this band in the future. An excellent debut and hopefully an album that will be followed by many more releases.


Report this review (#747721)
Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars In this day and era, with so many bands and different fusion of styles going on, it's really difficult to be surprised by up-and-coming bands. What can they possibly bring to the table? Well, I'm glad I have found Effloresce.

This German band, comprised of a female vocalist/flautist, two guitars, bass and drums (with some atmospheric keyboards here and there on the recording), is not inventing anything new, but rather playing prog metal their own way. The music is complex enough, with several interesting guitar chords and acoustic passages, to attract those fans of intricacy, yet the compositions and arrangements have a flowing feel to it, which makes the listener go through each passage and nuance of every song in a very smooth, somewhat controlled way.

Their first official CD, 'Coma Ghosts', released in February 2012, is the follow-up to their EP 'Shades of Fate' (2009) and, honestly, for a first album, it already sounds very mature. The CD opens with the eerie 'Crib', a track where you can feel the entire energy of the band and Nicki Weber's passionate singing, letting you feel what she wishes to express through the lyrics. As second track we have 'Spectre Pt. I: Zorya's Dawn', a 10-minute epic (with Roman number in its title and all) which perfectly summarizes what Effloresce is about: there's space for headbanging, but also for attentive listening. Nicki surprises with her change of voice, from soft, melodic, to growling. Those who are not fans of growls should not be afraid, for she doesn't abuse this resource, and rather uses it to emphasize certain parts of the songs. 'Pavement Canvas' follows, with more alternations between soft and growling vocals, and well-built guitar solos. The only short track on the album is number 4, 'Undercoat', a guitar-driven instrumental which brings a little oasis among the album's heaviness. Following on this melodic vein, 'Swimming through Deserts' is a soft, yet never boring song, which prepares the listener for what I consider their best track, the 16-minute 'Shuteye Wanderer'.

If I had to choose only one Effloresce song to listen to, this would be it. It's the kind of complex song that drives you through a fulfilling listening experience without ever making you think of the time. With growls mostly at the beginning, the song goes through several passages, from very heavy to beautifully acoustic, with the flute perfectly complimenting the guitars, all leading through a burst of emotion in the last minutes. The CD ends, having clocked at 54 minutes and one is left with an urge for a bit more.

Considering the many positive reviews the band has received for this first effort so far, one can only hope that there will be indeed more to come. The bar has been set high after a very good debut, but the talent is there, and I'm sure we'll hear more from Effloresce and they'll become a well-established name in the prog metal scene.

Report this review (#750780)
Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars When a new band pops-up out of nowhere, it's nothing but an exciting pleasure to the greedy ear. Likewise, I run onto Effloresce, a progressive metal band from Germany. The band members are Dave (guitar, keys), Tim (guitar), Basti (bass), Tobi (drums) and last but not least Nicki on vocals (and not only, I'll explain later on). After their EP release named "Shades of Fade" in 2009, they present us this year their first complete studio album under the title "Coma Ghosts", which is available for some time now, and has managed to shake things up not only in the current prog scene.

I first met Effloresce through their song "Swimming Through Deserts", which serves an Opeth-ish feeling (something between "Blackwater Park" and "Deliverance"), that grabs your attention instantly. Being a freshman, concerning their music, I started to believe that they belong to that music "style", but I was proven pleasantly wrong. The album conveys an incredible dynamic throughout it's duration, that is framed by their band-influences like Opeth as mentioned before, as well as Dream Theater representing the progressive scene. Simultaneously it adopts elements from the Symphonic Metal genre, reminding us bands similar to Epica. But let's get back to Nicki (as promised above), who besides her wonderful and powerful vocals has a little surprise for all those who are willing to give "Coma Ghosts" a hearing-chance: her growls, that make you... raise an eyebrow! Simple, as possible, they give a unique touch to the music result, without lasting more than someone can bear (if anyone has such problems whatsoever).

All 6 songs, consisting the album, prove that the band worked hard on the instrumentation, leaving aside unnecessary solos and extreme music blabber. The production, which was supervised by a legend of Swedish metal, Dan Swanö, is also excellent, pointing out the necessary elements of every song, creating a very solid result. Trying to pick one composition out the album, I face a bizarre dilemma as the introductory piece, "Crib", as well as the one that follows, "Spectre Pt.1: Zorya's Dawn", which is my favorite one, give you the appropriate push to get psyched and look forward to hearing the songs to come. The intro from "Pavement Canvas" is also breathtaking, as it builds itself up slowly until the appearance of the sticked-to-my-mind-from-the-first-hearing riff that is just what the audience need in a live performance. "Undercoat" plays an introductory role to "Swimming through Deserts", with guitars that remind the ones from Porcupine Tree and Opeth. For the album's closure there is the 16-minute "Shuteye Wanderer", which functions as a recap for the whole album. Fast prog/metal riffs along with beautiful music passages and nicely done solos (especially the part with the flute, performed by Nicki), soft vocals and growls are the best way to summarize and present what Effloresce is all about.

If someone wonders how Opeth would sound like with Anneke Van Giersbergen or Simone Simons on vocals, well this album is exactly the answer, but of course inside the unique prisma of Effloresce's musical perception. Concluding, the only thing I would like to wish for this wonderful start to be only the beginning...

Report this review (#786723)
Posted Thursday, July 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German band EFFLORESCE has been around for a good few years, but it wasn't until 2009 that the band solidified with a stable line-up. They made an initial EP later that year, and in the spring of 2012 their debut album "Coma Ghosts" was released, courtesy of the newly formed German label Generation Prog Records.

"Coma Ghosts" is a rather impressive debut effort by the German band Effloresce. Refined progressive metal of the vintage variety is perhaps something of a foundation, but as the band frequently heads out to gentler and more extreme territories both, the end result is a disc that is fairly innovative and diverse, and merits a check by those who find such a description tantalizing.

Report this review (#796339)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Effloresce ? "Coma Ghosts"


47th place album of the year 2012

For some reason, 2012 has been filled with female fronted albums. 13 of my top 50 have a female vocalist. Although technically that number should be 25, there never have been a great abundance in my area of music. This is the only one, however, with unclean vocals done by a female vocalist, which is always interesting, but luckily for me, they are scarce and only really used for good effect.

The opener, "CRIB", has a wonderful opening vocal line and never really loses its energy throughout. Effloresce do a good job to keep their brand of prog metal interesting, without losing too much in solos or breaks in vocals. Vocalist Nicki is also one of the better female vocalists on the list, and really knows how to make a good hook. The growled parts are interesting, and are used in great contrast to the cleans, especially well done in the chorus of "Pavement Canvas".

Recommended for progressive metal fans, particularly Epica, although Effloresce don't have the symphonic aspect.

Originally posted on my facebook page/blog

Report this review (#851265)
Posted Monday, November 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Effloresce is an energetic metal band fronted by vocalist Nicki Weber who at times sounds like the female vocalists of Goth bands Nightwish, After Forever and Epica, but also has some moments where she growls. When a woman growls in metal it really is quite startling, reminding me of the Asarte and Kittie growls, quite unsettling but as powerful as male vocalists. Niki also is talented in the musical field playing some scintillating flute and percussion. Her dominating prescence is of course obvious but Effloresce also have some great musicians with guitarist shredder Dave Mola, who also plays Mellotrons adding to the ethereal quality of the music. Sebastian Ott is on bass, Tobi Sub on drums and also Tim Ivanic plays guitars.

"Coma Ghosts" is not extreme in heavy thrashing but mostly has a steady measured tempo with some complex guitar riffs. It opens with the melodic 'Crib' where Niki stays on the crystal clear vocal technique. On 'Spectre Pt. 1: Zorya´s Dawn', a 10:34 shredfest, the guitars begin with intricate fast riffing and then it settles with measured cadence and some nice guitar interplay along with a strong bassline. This has a more progressive feel, with odd rhythm breaks and time sigs that shift in tempo. There are some Gothic resonances at 4:50 with choral voices, and then Niki begins screeching, quite a horrific sound but it darkens the mood well. Later more technical metal riffs crash through and then suddenly the lilting serenity of flute chimes in. There are enough chord progression changes and mood shifts to make this one of the most progressive songs on the album.

The inventiveness continues with 'Pavement Canvas', a 9 minute track with an ominous droning intro, that fades up with rhythmic percussion and guitar phrasing. The wind effects add to the atmosphere and then a chunky guitar riff plunges it into heavy territory. The drums launch in to precision blastbeats and there is a quirky fractured time sig. Eventually Niki's vocals chime in with beautiful resonance and later she reverts to the screechy style. The guitar riff is killer on this track and the lead break cranks along the disjointed tempo.

'Undercoat' is a short track with an ambient tranquility, swathes of keyboards and ghostly reverberations. The lead guitar soars beautifully over, making this one of the calmest tracks on the album. It is followed by 'Swimming Through Deserts', that opens with more gentle meandering guitars. Niki's voice flows along nicely, angelic and crystal clear, along with some narrative interjections in this ballad. This is the band in a contemplative mood, lilting and with a drifting lullaby feel.

'Shuteye Wanderer' is a 16 and a half minute epic to close the album. Dave Mola throws the anchor down with some fret melting guitar outbreaks; his lead hammers along with a blinding ferocity and fast bass and percussion. It settles after the breakneck opening into a soft tempo with Niki's sweet tones and strong ambient music. The guitars crash through overtaking this atmosphere and more scintillating lead breaks are accompanied by raspy growls. There is a fiery extended instrumental section with choppy rhythms moving from speed metal to crawl and back to peaceful passages. The mood swings are wonderful, maintaining interest throughout. The flute returns and brings things to a pastoral change in the atmosphere. A rumbling roar of thunder cracks the silence and it builds with a portentous vibe, as Niki's gorgeous vocals interject at 9 and a half minutes in. eventually the guitars unleash their fury and the drums move into hyperspeed mode until it all breaks into tranquility and an angelic vocal. This track is a genuine delight, with some of the more innovative structures from the band.

To conclude the album delivers the right dosage of heavy guitar thrash with keyboard ambiance, growls are used in the heavier sections and are quite brutal yet Niki is capable of pure beauty and choses this operatic style for the most part. The guitars are incredible on the album, especially the huge lead solos, and it is all capped off by precision technicality on bass and drums. The result is a great album full of sound and fury signifying prog metal bliss.

Report this review (#917556)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Effloresce is a german progressive metal band, signed on the young label Generation Prog Records, founded by the enthusiastic bassist of jazz-fusion band Relocator, Michael Schetter.

With 'Coma Ghosts', they sign a quality first album with top-notch production, to be filed somewhere between Dream Theater and The Gathering at the time of 'Mandyllion'.

Most of the tracks are filled with an overwhelming tension, brought by martial or galloping rhythms, obsessing and insisting guitars, the haunting and majestic Hammond of "Spectre Pt.I- Zorya's Dawn", as well as the gravity of Nicki Weber's voice, in a pleading fashion most of the time, yet quite solemn in "Pavement Canvas". The short musical interlude "Undercoat" set apart, there is nonetheless one song ("Swimming through desert") that lands like a UFO in the tormented climate, as the light- weighted music, the pastoral mood with acoustic guitar and the sunny voice of Nicki, are so different from the other tunes. The disturbed guitar that concludes the track ensures nonetheless a return to the desolated world.

Half-angel, half-demon, Nicki Weber sings with a voice that is delicate and repulsive in turn. In this fight of the extremes, the beautiful wins over the ugly, "grunted" chant, which is the (mis)deed of the young woman, is indeed scarce. And, as if this split was not enough to highlight the incredible range of her vocal abilities, Nicki fills us with joy in her flute parts that are more than welcome to temper the tension of the mood ("Spectre Pt.I- Zorya's Dawn" and "Shuteye Wanderer").

In a nutshell, this is a very enjoyable album, in which a dynamic music devoid of any flashiness and with spare and never invasive swirling guitars, back a bewitching voice.

Report this review (#1250259)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars I am very used to being late to the party, especially with living at the end of the world, so I have only just come across this album which was released in 2012. It was the debut album from German band Effloresce, following on from a 3- track EP and according to their website it was very well received at the time, even being voted best progressive metal album of 2012 by some. But their site has not been updated since 2016, although I have tracked down singer Nicki Weber and found a post from 2018 where she says the band will still do a second album, so there may be hope yet. Hope? Yep, I want to hear more from these guys as unlike many bands within the spectrum who either embrace metal so hard they forget the prog, or vice versa, these guys have a strong grip on both sides of the spectrum moving along the scale as it suits them.

This means we can get numbers which are quite neo prog in many ways, except often with more metallic drumming, and then we can go into full on metallic-style prog with the band fully firing. Then at the front there is Nicki, who often sings like an angel but can also growl when she needs to, immediately making me think of Angela Gossow. There are times when they remind me somewhat of Lacuna Coil, which did make me wonder if the album title is a tip of the hat to the 2002 album 'Comalies', and like them they have a very diverse approach to the job at hand. The sound and production are superb, but one would expect nothing less seeing as how the mighty Dan Swanö mixed and mastered the release. It is polished, interesting throughout with plenty of movement and change in the overall approach, by a band who are skilled and a great singer. It never sounds like a debut by an unknown band but instead by one who has been around for years and are at the top of their game. Why they have not been picked up by a label such as Nuclear Blast is something of a surprise, and one can only hope the second album is still a possibility, as this is a band with a lot to offer.

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Posted Friday, May 8, 2020 | Review Permalink

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