Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Distorted Harmony - Chain Reaction CD (album) cover


Distorted Harmony

Progressive Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Second Life Syndrome
5 stars In 2012, a young band blew me away with a debut that still lingers in my ears. Heck, my wife uses one of their songs as her ringtone. That band was Distorted Harmony, an Israeli progressive metal band with a fresh, eclectic sound. Their debut, 'Utopia', was my album of the year for 2012. So, when they announced their sophomore album, I instantly had to make a connection with them so that I could get the chance to review it.

Could my expectations be any higher? I almost feel bad for the band because there are so many people out there that have huge expectations for this new album, almost unfair expectations. And, yet, I think Distorted Harmony has met those expectations, and even exceeded them, just not in the way that anyone is expecting. Their new album is called 'Chain Reaction', and it is very different from their debut album.

Distorted Harmony has changed. They come across as more mature, more skilled, and more aware of what they want to play. Their first album leaned heavily on Dream Theater at times, but 'Chain Reaction' has thrown off that mantle almost completely. Gone are the technical (even cheesy) piano lines that Yoav Efron played with such skill, and in comes a darker, more subtler synth, though there are some piano lines that still serve a warm purpose in slower, more dramatic portions. While there is still much finger work from guitarist Guy Landau, the guitars are heavier, more stuttering, and more riff oriented. Iggy Cohen on bass has changed into a composer of funky and appropriate bass lines that are foundational to the music. Lastly, Yogev Gabay on drums may have changed the least, and that's just fine. His delicate but kinetic style abounds with flourishes and skill that I really enjoy. As a whole, the band plays furiously and their virtuosity shows, but their technical prowess comes together in such a way that they all sound like one unit, creating impressive walls of sound and also delicate reflective moments.

Vocalist Misha Soukhinin is back, and he's better than ever. His voice was somewhat controversial the first time around, as some people claimed his voice is 'too pop'. And you know what? It definitely is not a metal voice, and that is a huge compliment. His range is fantastic, his unique personality is a strong as ever, and his maturity in skill is becoming more apparent. Misha is destined to be one of the best, and, besides, he's hilarious.

Speaking of pop, though, I must point out of the biggest shifts for Distorted Harmony here is the pop and alternative influences that show themselves in catchier sections, ultra-polished grooves, raw riffing and choruses, and an accessibility that is strange for a metal album. If I had to make a comparison, I would say that this album sounds more like a metallic Muse album, complete with the soaring vocals, vocals filters, and creative instrumentals. This shift in sound is extremely welcome for me, and I'm very proud that Distorted Harmony has gone out on a limb.

'Chain Reaction' is very well paced, diverse, concise, and very deep lyrically. I feel that they really selected the best compositions they wrote, and created some very different artwork. The album starts off with one of my favorite songs of the year called 'Every Time She Smiles', an explosive, catchy track with a wonderful feel. As the album progresses, we get a great taste of all sorts of tones and sounds, from the heaviness of 'Children of Red' to the genius but groovy instrumental 'Nothing (but the rain)' and from the ballad structure of 'As You Go' to the ethereal to climactic bombast of 'Methylene Blue'. That last track is a close second on the album, as it starts out soft and surreal and progresses to an amazing instrumental climax. I must comment on the track 'Misguided', too, as it was originally released as a demo last year. The song sounds different, especially the funky little bass exercise they added towards the end. Overall, it has definitely been elevated, although some of Misha's vocals are a little less emotional.

Distorted Harmony may or may not have topped their debut. The fact is that it's really tough to decide that when 'Utopia' and 'Chain Reaction' are so different in purpose and style. For what it's worth, I think 'Chain Reaction' will be my favorite of the two, and it harks back to some of the alternative music I used to love and then combines it with some of the most technical yet purposeful progressive metal that I've heard. For what it's worth, 'Chain Reaction' is the best progressive metal album thus far in 2014.

Report this review (#1196102)
Posted Thursday, June 19, 2014 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars An insurmountable task

And that would be to "overtake" the greatness of the debut album "Utopia"... The problem here is that DH have set so high a standard with their first release that any subsequent album would have to be compared with that. And this is where we start with a handicap...

Although similar in duration, "Chain Reaction" avoids the very-long-composition pattern of the debut, with the exception of "Misguided", which, interestingly enough, is the absolute highlight. Here we see more "direct" songwriting, with potentially less complexity but with an increasingly personal sound and statement. In their majority, the compositions are more predictable as they unfold but impressions such as "wall of sounds" (opening "Every Time She Smiles") and "lushful, colourful passages" ("Natural Selection") are often generated in my mind.

Misha's vocal qualities are a winner throughout this release and at times counterbalance the heavy riffs of Yoav Efron. The late-era Dream Theater influence is still apparent, especially in the chucking riffs (e.g. see "Children of Red"). The Muse influence is, I think, stronger in this release, as the band blends successfully an "indie"/pop character with the more traditional progressive metal. The melodic/catchy refrains are back but the more intricate fusion-esque playing has somewhat been reduced. The addition of a couple of "fillers" in "Nothing" and "As You Go" does not really add much to the final result but trademark compositions such as "Natural Selection" bring the balance back to the positive sign. Interestingly, the album ends with a track full of goth/synth influences in "Methylene Blue", which, without impressing, leaves the listener with a pleasant taste.

Throughout the melancholia of compositions (and accompanying, interesting, artwork) there is an aura of optimism and character. DH have developed their own sound and that should be credited to them. Despite not reaching the same heights as "Utopia", "Chain Reaction" is a strong statement for the quality and personal sound of this group.

4 (-) stars with thanks to the band for the promo

Highlights: Every Time She Smiles, Misguided, Natural Selection

Report this review (#1206166)
Posted Sunday, July 6, 2014 | Review Permalink
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars You wouldn't know this band if from IsraŽl, listening to their second album. This is progressive metal with a slight touch of djent with influences from Dream Theater and many more modern progressive metal bands. The usual big guitar riffs are present throughout this CD, but what separate this music from the average prog metal bands are their strong compositions. When the band has showed their musicianship, they open the songs up with intelligent breaks by slowing things down with more emotional content. The vocals range can go from the screaming to some smooth vocals. Behind the powerful guitar riffs, the band has incorporated some nice arrangements and delicate passages with some acoustic music from the piano and the guitars offering a nice balance between metal and rock.
Report this review (#1226589)
Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't ever write reviews, but I thought this underrated group deserved more attention.

Distorted Harmony's second major release is a strong album all the way through, and very much worth your time if you are fan of progressive music. Genre and style descriptions include progressive, metal, alternative, and djent. All are accurate descriptions, but none are particularly overwhelming as they make for a pleasing combination. Simply put, these guys know how to write a song without over emphasizing any one style. They can seamlessly flow and build from one section to the next, without dwelling on any one part (the complete opposite of say, Dream Theater). Outside of the songwriting, the vocalist (Misha) is one of the biggest strengths of the band. His clean, soaring, and melodic yet mellow vocals are the foundation for an already great cast of instrumental support.

As for the instruments, most of the chugging / djent riffs remain in the background, to support the vocals and keyboard. The intensity of the guitar waxes and wanes depending on the section, which keeps these sections refreshing despite the repetitive riffs commonly heard with more extreme djent. The keyboards are great, playing typical background chords, solos, arpeggios, and occasionally a lead riff or section. Some tracks, including "As You Go" depart from metal and djent styles entirely, with the band instead opting to feature acoustic guitar and piano to support the vocals. Interestingly, these tracks compliment the overall feel of the album and are much welcomed.

The band cites influences from Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Symphony X, and others as influences. All of these influences can be heard if you listen carefully. Yet, Distorted Harmony maintains their integrity creating their own distinct sound. Often times, I found myself thinking certain segments sounded very similar to say Dream Theater, but without the boring slow segments (soft rock), uninspired lyrics, and excessive guitar / keyboard wankery.

All in all, this band should be accessible to anyone even casually interested in progressive rock & metal or djent. Distorted Harmony's biggest strengths include Misha's amazing voice and the ability to mix mellow moments with heaviness and virtuosity - particularly when it comes to song-writing, song-structure, and flow. It certainly helps that the choruses are all catchy, distinct, and not overly repetitive. Definitely check out this under rated band!

9/10; My favorite prog album of 2014 so far.

Report this review (#1238870)
Posted Friday, August 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars After listening to this album 48 times on my iPod (yes, iTunes counts every listen), I conclude that this is one of my favorite albums of 2014. Great prog-metal, with great melodic sense, excellent arrangements and a spectacular musical production.

This is even better than 2012's "Utopia", which was the best prog-metal album ever produced in Israel anyway. Songs are tight, mature and muscular. Guitar work by Guy Landau deserves all the accolades, with tasteful licks and careful attention to detail. Drum work by Yogev Gabai is very creative, focused on clever syncopation and surprising passages.

Yoav Efron, band leader, has managed to remain in the background, not forcing himself on the songs, producing only the most essential keyboard solos. Frontman Misha Suchinin's vocals are impressive and sensitive - the exact opposite to most prog-metal vocalists. Misha never overkills the vocal lines, always human and dynamic.

The centerpiece is "Misguided" (#3), and tracks like "Methylene Blue" remind me of Porcupine Tree. All tracks, maybe except the short acoustic "As You Go" are perfect, with the 2nd track "Children of Red" remind me of Dream Theater's "Six Degrees" period.

All in all, a very catchy album, worthy of your precious time, with amazing progressive metal workouts - "Chain Reacion" focuses on the songs, not the players egos. This is not an empty showcase of virtuousity, but a real electric storm made by five world-class musicians. I enjoyed it so much, and glad to still have it on my mp3 player. The 50th listen is very close :-)

Report this review (#1246840)
Posted Wednesday, August 13, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An intelligent heavy prog with moderated use of the elements that often make metal music too abrasive for my senses. In this I would compare them to Tool, Karnivool, Proghma-C, and even Haken and Muse in their ability to salvage sensitivity and melody within their music.

1. "Every Time She Smiles" (6:46) Stylistically and vocally this song almost could have come off of FREDDEGREDDE's Brighter Skies album. It even has quite a few attributes of the music coming from Indie-pop band COLDPLAY or maybe MUSE. Nice. (9/10)

2. "Children of Red" (5:08) There is a heavier, more metallic musical foundation to this one, yet their are still parts (mostly vocally) that remind me of COLDPLAY--at least until the growl-vocals at the end of the third minute. Then it reverts back to the more Indie-pop style choral vocals. Back to machine gun kick drum-led metal sound before fading delicately. A bit incongruous. (7/10)

3. "Misguided" (8:30) opens with some layered, multi-insturmental presentation of an engaging melodic riff before settling into a song that sounds straight from HAKEN's Vision album. Then around 1:35 a cool multiple chord bridge takes us into another FREDDEGREDDE-like section. The first exposition of the chorus at 2:20 reminds me of KARNIVOOL. A nice FROST*-like instrumental midsection ends with some awesome lead guitar blending into screaming voice (treated) and keyboard before returning to the chorus. This one is a keeper. (9/10)

4. "Nothing (But the Rain) (2:16) is a very nice, melodic keyboard- and industrial sound-based instrumental interlude that builds on a repetitive chord progression into a quick climax. (10/10)

5. "As One" (5:48) begins softly with treated guitar and keys before the full band comes kicking in. At the one minute mark a "normal" vocal enters over some straightforward though heavier Indie rock sound. Chorus and later vocal sections are heavier and treated with effects. The number of tempo and style changes is again reminiscent of "quick change artist" FREDDEGREDDE, though the music is more similar to HAKEN. Cool song. (9/10)

6. "Hollow" (6:07) opens with some gentle, emotional, slowly strummed electric guitar and piano chords. How deceiving! All hell breaks loose at 0:44 with a creeping, haunting insistent heavy sound. The "I am the wave..." section only adds to this unsettled feeling. A very cool song with all kinds of sonic incidentals to surprise and/or distract you. Super high pitch fret-tapping guitar solo blasts its way in at 3:44. Wow! The three sections of the chorus return but with all balls out--to great effect. Great finish ŗ la PROGHMA-C. (10/10)

7. "As You Go" (3:12) sounds like a nice MOON SAFARI or RPWL song. A nice break from the heaviness before (and to follow). (8/10)

8. "Natural Selection" (5:14) begins with an aggression that belies its melodic vocal sections. Kind of LINCOLN PARK-like in its two-facedness (even the "it doesn't matter" lyric!) The band seems like it's kind of draping a couple songs together into one. Again, FROST*s Experiments in Mass Appeal come to mind here: too much being compacted into five minutes. (7/10)

9. "Methylene Blue" (7:43) opens with a synth arpeggio repeating itself. Gentle almost whispered vocal enters soon. At 1:25 the voice moves up an octave as other instruments begin to join in. At 2:10 a piano-based section takes over for a bit. Gentle NOSOUND-like treated vocal begins. Very pretty section. Very sensitive and emotional--dreamy. At 3:50 the full band kicks in for "Praise the sun before she goes away" lyric. Electric guitar solo bridges between another louder, more aggressive section. Then, at the five minute mark, a drum-led staccato odd timed section ensues. Wonderful to hear the band weave their way in and out of this rhythmically complicated section. Just as suddenly it all drops out and we are restored to the piano arpeggios beneath the plaintive treated voice singing "Methylene blue. I am sorry for killing you" over a few time till the song's end. Great tune! Feels like it should be accompanied by a sci-fi video (like KARNIVOOL's awesome "We Are.") (10/10)

Probably my favorite prog metal/heavy prog album of the year (I eventually find one or two). Fully worth four stars and more. Excellent instrumentalists playing some awesomely complex and yet engaging and beautiful music--all topped off with a great vocalist. Great job, guys! Your future is bright! I, for one, will be watching!

Report this review (#1292923)
Posted Friday, October 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars I remember, even though I never formally reviewed it, referring to Distorted Harmony's debut album Utopia as "one of the most frustrating records I have ever listened to", primarily referring to their ability to vomit all over a well-written section or melody with unnecessary hyper-technical guitar lines that did absolutely nothing to add to the song. This ability is obviously something that very many progressive metal bands have their hands in, ever since Dream Theater popularised it with the half-amazing, half-crap Images and Words way back in 1992. Utopia had some absolutely stellar melodies and riffs in it, but the irritating need to fill up the rest of the songs with "look at me!" style guitar/keyboard interplay quite simply drove me up the wall. But looking past that, Utopia was still a very impressive debut record, and while it did call for some improvement, it landed Distorted Harmony right at the top of the new crop of progressive metal bands, and gained them some great praise. Two years and a successful funding campaign later, my copy of Chain Reaction arrived all the way from Israel, and I can say with great pleasure that many of my complaints about the first album have been reduced, but unfortunately not without some new complaints arising.

Whereas Utopia could be described as Dream Theater playing around with some more alternative influences (in a good way not a bad way), Chain Reaction reminds me far more of the other big DT in prog metal, Devin Townsend. His characteristic epic and oddly-progressing compositional style is written all over this album in terms of the ways that Distorted Harmony write their melodic hooks and structure their songs. The soaring choruses atop "Every Time She Smiles" and "Hollow" are straight out of Devin's almost-operatic style, although Distorted Harmony manage to pull away from his influence enough to avoid being called clones. Some of the instrumentals here even remind me a bit of bands like Periphery, albeit with a less disgusting guitar tone and a bit more control. The alternative metal influence that many claimed was their unique style on Utopia is still here, but in less doses. Some of the moments on "Children of Red" or the aforementioned "Hollow" sound like a straight-up alt-metal track, complete with some chunky grooves and semi-harsh vocals.

I have to admit though, this album sure does open with a bang, and it does make the rest of the album pale a bit in comparison. Aside from a couple of little missteps in structure, "Every Time She Smiles" is one of the best songs of the year, and probably my favourite song of the year in progressive metal. Both the subtle verse melody and the bombastic chorus melody are absolutely stellar, and the addition of piano and some crowd vocals only lifts it up further. On the other side, "Children of Red" is a heavy, gritty metal track, with an insanely tight and headbanging groove that compliments the opener in every way, by being its complete polar opposite. Although I've never really been a fan of a) yelling about "the powers that be" or b) semi- harsh yelled vocals, the "[%*!#] YOU AND YOUR SICK IDEOLOGY" section in this track never fails to get me grinning my face of, especially when it transitions into the groove-ridden instrumental section, complete with some cliched and corny spoken word samples. "Misguided", the third and longest track on the album, does attempt somewhat to keep this string of great songs going, with an absolutely phenomenal opening riff and a pretty great chorus, but its length does drag it down, and as the song pushes on, the power of the first couple of minutes is slowly lost, especially when one of the weakest synth solos I have ever heard comes floating in.

Unfortunately, the rest of the album never quite matches the intensity of the first fifteen or so minutes, but it isn't bad, by a long shot. "Hollow" attempts to do "Children of Red" again, but doesn't quite hit the same intensity the second time around, and "As One" and "Natural Selection" both hit decent choruses and grooves, but lack the full-on start-to-finish goodness of the opening track. Some of the electronics from Utopia's title track (something I really wanted them to develop) appear in the instrumental interlude "Nothing (But the Rain)" and a little bit on "As You Go", but they're not used nearly as well as they were on the debut. Even the closing track, "Methylene Blue", is a bit of a disappointment, containing some great ideas that don't quite translate fully into a great song. It has a very linear structure, but the guitar solo that follows the nice soft build-up sounds really out of place, and Misha Soukhinin's vocals do start to lose their power in his lower range. I don't really think there's a bad song on this album, I just think that many in the second half fail to reach all that they could be.

Chain Reaction, on the whole, is really only a tiny bit better than Utopia, but it is an infinitely more rewarding listen. The top-heavy nature of the record does mean that most of the tricks have been played out very early on in the album, but the remainder of the tracks manage to just hold on to my attention enough for me to call this a consistent album. They have managed to avoid the sophomore slump by producing a record that simultaneously reaffirms their style whilst also adding new elements to the mix that keep the quality up. I do still feel however that they have yet to reach their full potential, and if they can combine the best parts of this and Utopia, while leaving behind the unnecessary technicality and borrowed composition, I can really see something special coming from these guys soon.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Report this review (#1309626)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Distorted Harmony's first album, Utopia, was a very good album. Chain Reaction takes it a step further. It sounds more refined and mature than its predecessor but retains the excellent sense of melody and heavy riffs found in Utopia.

The album opens with Every Time She Smiles, which starts out with a long atmospheric intro before giving way to an alternative style riff. The verses are backed by playful basslines and feature light vocals. The whole song is very laid back, not overly flashy or heavy, but heavy enough in the right moments with a few short bursts of technicality. The song builds a little bit near the end, and the final chorus is definitely a strong, powerful way to end the song.

Children of Red immediately establishes itself as a heavier song, an intricate yet heavy and easy-to-accept intro riff with a completely different style vocally. The drums really help drive the aggression of this song home. Then, you hit the chorus, which is a nice anthem-like break from the aggressive heaviness of the verse, but as the chorus goes back to the verse... It's time to growl! That was unexpected. This song has an awesome contrast of extremely heavy, in-your-face metal and catchy, driving rock anthem.

Misguided is an awesome song full of deep, rumbling guitar riffs and perfectly timed keyboards. The verses feature some extremely nifty and proggy/jazzy bass and drums with some interesting sounds in the background from the keyboards and guitars, accentuating the vocals. I love how they build the verse up by adding more the second time around and hitting a higher level when going into the chorus. Misha Soukhinin has a great range on this song as well, hitting some nice, clear highs when needed. By far the most impressive feature of this song is how you can listen to the verses, which are essentially the same, but feel completely different from one another due to the way DH subtly adds in more the second time around. Oh, and the instrumental near the end is pretty awesome, too. The bass really shines throughout this song and it helps set the tone for some very tasteful shredding from the lead guitars.

Nothing (but the rain) changes things up once more, starting out with some mellow piano and electronic- sounding drums with a nice beat. Slowly, the bass joins in. Then the song picks up, then it picks up some more... Once again DH does a beautiful job at building up a song and creating the mood it wants to create instead of jumping straight into it. This song doesn't have anything else to it, but it didn't need anything else. Great instrumental.

As One is possibly the heaviest song on the album, giving several nice head bang moments while featuring a chorus that allows you to head bob rather than headbang. When the song moves over into its instrumental section it quiets down for a bit before punching you in the face with an angry, heavy-hitting guitar riff. The keyboards do a great job at accentuating the heavy guitars and drums without taking away from them.

Hollow is my personal favorite song on this album... The intro is a simple clean guitar chord progression, but somehow it really catches my attention. It sets a very somber, wistful mood before the distortion comes in, melodic but heavy. The verse jumps around a lot in terms of timing and the overall feel of the song, becoming a little chaotic at times but somehow retaining its melody. The chorus is a hard, middle-eastern riff with soaring vocals. For much of the album the lead guitars are subdued compared to DH's first album, Utopia... This isn't the case in this song. The lead guitars shred around for a bit with some great little sweeps and runs before the song returns to its roots. The song ends by chugging the rumbling low riff featured earlier.

As You Go, much like Hollow, starts out pretty soft. Unlike Hollow, it stays that way. Initially featuring atmospheric keyboards and a major key, happy acoustic chord progression, the vocals are spot-on through the verse. The chorus is very folksy and artsy, something completely unlike everything else on the album so far... Eventually, the bass, some piano, and then the drums kick in and the song manages to build itself up while retaining the same mood with which it began.

Natural Selection lets you know right away that you're in for a technical, progressive metal ride, and oh, are you. DH reverts to what they're becoming known for; contrasting heavy, technical guitar-driven parts with bass and vocal-driven verses... This song has the best pre-chorus in DH's discography so far and one of the better choruses as well, and Soukhinin's vocals a very impressive throughout the entire song. The instrumental portion of this song features some heavy guitar chugging with nice harmonies from the keyboard and guitar, but nothing is overdone or very flashy.

Methylene Blue is a very atmospheric piece lead by a synth riff and some droning bass/low synth. Eventually the tasteful drums begin accentuating the mood and you get a few hints of guitar. Then the mood shifts slightly as the clean guitars take over with piano and drums in the background. After being moody for a long time, the drums build with the snare and distorted guitars come ringing in. Then a lovely melodious guitar lead highlights some of the previous vocal melodies with plenty of embellishment. Eventually from out of the moody atmospheric ashes rises a harsh, aggressive guitar riff, which takes over before allowing the keyboards to come in on top of it and add to an already cool-sounding riff. The ending of the song returns to the atmospheric vibe from the beginning of the song, which I definitely feel was the most appropriate way to end the song and the album.

The TL;DR version of this review is that Distorted Harmony is a great band absolutely worth checking out. It seems like the new prog band of the decade has almost universally been deemed to be Haken, but while Haken has definitely put out some great music since 2010, I feel like Distorted Harmony ought to be mentioned right there with them.

Report this review (#1322316)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Israeli band DISTORTED HARMONY was formed in 2009 by keyboardist Yoav Efron and drummer Yogev Gabay, and in the next two years they gradually assembled the remaining members of the band. Just one year after they had a complete combo assembled they released their debut album "Utopia", initially as a free digital production, but later issued as a more traditional CD as well. "Chain Reaction" is their sophomore album, self-released by the band in 2014.

Distorted Harmony comes across as a band in full development to create their very own take on progressive metal, operating out from a fundament based on the Dream Theater school of progressive metal, liberally flavoring their quirky take on that style with elements from both indie rock and later day progressive rock. The end result on this occasion is a solid, strong and extremely well made album, a high-quality example of progressive metal that should have a broad appeal to most who enjoy the genre and probably a bit beyond as well.

Report this review (#1480365)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2015 | Review Permalink

DISTORTED HARMONY Chain Reaction ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of DISTORTED HARMONY Chain Reaction

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.