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5 stars KONOM was born after a change of line-up and in reference to Asimov. A sound mixing progressive metal and alternative rock in the tradition of groups such as PORCUPINE TREE, HAKEN, FROST *, TOOL, OPETH or KARNIVOOL. Beware a modern and playful sound awaits you, not an easy tune that you cannot stand anyway, a new, innovative and unique sound. "A Welcome Change" and a spatial intro bringing a punchy rock rhythm with the high-pitched voice of Arya reminding me by the sound that of Justin Hawkins from DARKNESS, a first break with the emphasis on the synth then a second with Dan's fruity guitar, here reminding me of Ian CRICHTON, setting the tone for modern progressive alternative rock; digressions thereafter for a new and inventive sound. "Birotunda" with acoustic guitar, soft vocal at the start, then it goes up to a sharp metal rock with progressive sap and in the rhythm and in the composition; sudden break with synth-guitar brawl and the presence of Jem, alternating nervous and soft phases, ethereal, melancholic limits, violin at the end which adds to the introspection. "As the Waters Rise" for the 3rd long track, drums intro in crescendo, violin okay, then a nervous hard riff, keyboard layers that add to the musical score, TOXIC SMILE or TESSERACT at the corner of the ear ; the voice arrives at the nasal, eastern borderline and remembers that of Ian ANDERSON; stretched voice more rock-pop for a conventional verse-chorus chapter and then the enjoyable guitar solo sets the powder; It's beautiful, intuitive and no traces of reminiscences of any dino band, a good point for the prog revival. Final with an enthusiastic vocalist experimentation.

The Great Harvest for a variation in 5 chapters with "I. Epiphany ", which begins this section with a magical instrumental, acoustic guitar, piano, bass, drums; come on a little HAKEN, no there LEPROUS, no there TERRAMAZE, in short it spurts all over the place and it's good, it goes on with "II. Dilate My World "and a title based on Arya's special voice, juggling words, the keyboards behind more vintage; the guitar always fresh, bluesy at times which churns out its notes like note petals; "III. Mutating Light "arriving with a sound deluge flirting with DEVIN TOWNSEND and SAGA" Generation 13 ", a little spanish guitar, hold the ARK sound going through my head; we ask ourselves and "IV. Reflections "a melancholy blues ballad that confuses you even more! Ah there it is, guitar solo, typical voice and it goes, it spurts again, this is more than innovative here, this is OMNI and it is good; last sequence with "V. Heedless Breath "and its rhythmic more metallic than progressive, the notes will certainly remind you of the great DREAM THEATER in its best moments with the emphasis on orchestration and synths, new blood to which I remind you that prog 2020 lives up to its letters glory with the return of keyboards to the fore. A 25 minute play giving room for all members just huge.

KONOM has just hit hard at the start of the year by releasing an unclassifiable album, as I like them; an opus with a centerpiece exploiting the qualities of the musicians, 3 other titles with their own particularities; we are of course crazy prog metal, melodic and anachronistic, an unclassifiable gem that the progs will criticize but the hard rockers will not know where to place it. A modern album that kicks in the human madness of the moment with its contradictions about the real desire to save his planet and to live in harmony with it. A complex album which requires several readings and which then reveals its marvelous content; in short, a must here.

Report this review (#2508690)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | Review Permalink
3 stars Konom is a young, promising, and relatively new British progressive metal band with members based in Manchester and Edinburgh. When shows were still a thing, the band mainly performed out of Manchester within the local scene opening for more prominent visiting acts. Thanks to home studio technology, 2020's lockdown did not prevent members from writing and producing their debut record Konom collaboratively. And, by the standards of home recording and production, this record sounds as great as anyone could reasonably expect.

From the album's opening guitar and keyboard lead passages, reminiscent as they are of Dream Theater's "Six Degress of Inner Turbulence" suite, it becomes pretty clear that this record is going to be some standard prog metal fare. But what the music lacks in originality it makes up for in infectious positive energy. There is a hardly a dark moment on this album with the music pushing bright chords and up-tempo, but in no ways brutal, riffage. In this respect, I can see the record having strong appeal in the broader progressive music space. For my money, the music's most standout component are the acoustic guitar interludes interspersed throughout the record. I hope Dan White, Konom's guitarist, will continue to explore that in future releases.

Konom's Achilles heel is, tragically, the vocal performance. Imagine the wild boyish tone of Protest the Hero's Rody Walker but with little in the way of control or charisma. There is a moment in the album's opener "A Welcome Change" where I literally wince at how off key the vocal performance seems to be. Also, for music this unapologetically bright, colorful, and accessible, I would have expected at least a few good vocal hooks to sing along with. My ear certainly did not latch on to any. With all that said, I anticipate that this aspect of the music can be substantially improved under the direction of a more experienced producer.

Overall, still a very worthwhile album. This is definitely a band that, provided they don't sit on their laurels and continuously strive to improve, has a knock out classic record waiting up their sleeve.

Report this review (#2524496)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review #6 - What a sensational beginning!

When new bands release their first album, it can happen more often that its content still sounds a bit half-baked or the production has not yet reached the maximum level. Such albums seem raw and unpolished, but often they end up in the archive and are just a recording of nice songs. It is completely different with the five-member British band "Konom". Their self-titled album absolutely convinced me after the first listen. Because the difference to some other new bands is that "Konom" know exactly what they are doing. If I hadn't known that this was their first album, I would have thought I was listening to an insanely well-rehearsed band that has surely released its fourth album. Everything sounds as if from one cast. This starts with the strong production, which gives each instrument enough space to unfold in it. It continues with the excellent songwriting, which can convince with a high variety within the four songs. "Konom" combine the technical maturity of bands like "Dream Theater" and "Haken" and at the same time play down-to-earth music like "Saga" or "Marillion". Through a high proportion of melodic passages, you never have the feeling that the instrumentalists put their technique in front of the songs, but act more progressive exactly when the song gives it at the right place. This is a real listening pleasure and increases with each song, before you have arrived at the fourth song and everything is brought out what goes. A great dynamic is just as well done as the positive atmosphere created by many major sounds. It's not a tragedy - it's strong music from five talented musicians who could never have started better. With many guest musicians (including Jem Godfrey of Frost*) on classical instruments and a background choir, the album also feels lushly filled out, so much attention to detail has been paid. There would be so much more to say - listen to the guys and be inspired as well, this is how modern prog must sound!

Report this review (#2531046)
Posted Friday, April 2, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars I wasn't super fond on this album at first, but something about it made me try it out a few times with background listening after my initial headphone listen. Then the vocals really started to grab my attention more and more which made me forget about some aspects of the poppier metal portions that I'm not interested in.

This guy, Arya Bobaie, can really sing! Great range. He reminds me of so many great singers at different points and has some vocal theatrics at times reminiscent of Matthew Parmeter (Discipline).

Allowing the vocals to keep me interested, I got a few reps of the music and grew to appreciate it quite a bit. The music gets more proggy as it goes.

At many points I think to myself that this is how Dream Theatre could sound with my kind of vocalist. Speaking of Dream Theatre, their guitarist, Dan White has a real John Petrucci style at times. Very strong. When not in DM mode, it's still quite good too. I have thoughts of Porcupine Tree at times too, and Discipline at times. They certainly combine it all to make a good sound of their own.

This one is a grower I guess, although maybe not aggressive enough for some.

Did I mention the vocals on this album!!

I was going to give this a 4, but considering this really, really good production is a debut album, I'm going to give it a 4.5, rounded up to a 5.

Report this review (#2537640)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2021 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Progressive metal is not a style of music that i look forward to discovering new artists much any longer considering it seems like an endless procession of copycat bands that rarely match expectations but of course there are always exceptions so once in a while i'll check out a new artist just to see if the genre has found some new life and every once in a while i'm surprised that i really do enjoy some of the newer bands cranking out the somewhat familiar sounds laid down a while back.

KONOM is a new band founded in 2019 in Manchester, England by Arya Bobaie (vocals), Tom Rice (drums), Dan White (guitar, backing vocals), Benjamin Edwards (bass and Jonathan Worsley (keyboards) and is the result of Dan White and Tom Rice continuing together after the disbanding of the band Ascent which lasted from 2011-19. My first reaction to the band's eponymously titled debut is "LEPROUS IS BACK!" Yep, of all the bands that instantly come to mind are the Leprous albums that still had metal and this is mostly due to the extraordinary vocal control of Arya Bobale.

To be fair though, KONOM isn't a Leprous clone at all even if performing progressive metal in the same ballpark. With an emotive mix of progressive rock and more feisty metal, KONOM has crafted a very impactful debut with eight tracks that are just shy of t he 52 minute mark. This is the type of progressive metal that gets your attention right away with strong impactful melodic hooks, excellent musicianship that serves to function as a whole unit and eschews excess soloing and lots of atmospheric soaked synth parts that add all those other dimensions. While considered metal, much of the album isn't metal at all but rather atmospheric buildups, more subdued progressive rock or metal lite but the band does know how to unleash its fury when contrast is needed.

While Bobaie's vocals are the clear standout here, so too are the excellent guitar riffs that provide the backbone to the rhythmic drive with the bass and drums actually being a bit less dynamic. Of course prog metal means nothing without strong compositions and KONOM excels in keeping you engaged. With eight tracks on board, five are solely dedicated to "The Great Harvest" suite which features five distinct parts and let's the band show off its many influences which are actually quite broad ranging from Porcupine Tree to Haken and Tool to Dream Theater and a whole bunch of prog metal bands which is probably why KONOM works so well for me. In other words the influences are shuffled around enough and thoroughly integrated to actually make this sound unique if not revolutionary.

While the entire album is strong including the longer tracks such as the opening "A Welcome Change" which sprawls over the 10 1/2 minute mark, the highlight is clearly the multi-faceted "The Great Havest" which is a 20 minute plus showcase of styles and moods all wrapped in a progressive metal veneer. Like any really good prog metal, KONOM tackles many disparate moods and motifs but keeps them reeled into an overarching stylistic approach. Overall KONOM has unleashed a very enjoyable and competent debut release and is certainly one to look out for in the future. While i wouldn't call this band the next Dream Theater or breaking any new ground in the least, i will say that KONOM has mastered the art of technical prog metal without sacrificing the emotional connections that a great band is supposed to bring to the table primarily due to Bobale's excellent vocal command.

Report this review (#2575388)
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars Konom's self-titled debut album has been hovering close to the top of this year's charts for quite a while, though it still has yet to reach 50 ratings; it is also the highest progressive metal album on the 2021 chart, so I decided to check it out to see if it was worth the "hype". My initial reaction to the start of the album was that this isn't exactly an extraordinarily innovative album the way something like Black Midi's "Cavalcade" is; it's a fairly standard contemporary progressive metal album reminiscent of Haken, Caligula's Horse, Plini, Coheed and Cambria, etc.

That being said, this album is absolutely outstanding, and has quickly become one of my favorite 2021 albums, for the reason that it does what it does (contemporary progressive metal) EXTREMELY well. This is absolutely one of the most satisfying prog metal albums I have heard in quite a long time, possibly since Leprous's "The Congregation" in 2015. The album is simultaneously very catchy and undeniably heavy. It's filled with killer riffs that the band augments with prominent piano, acoustic guitar, organ, and other instruments that are usually only used in prog metal either in the background or as a brief moment of respite.

From the first song "A Welcome Change", it is clear that Arya Bobaie has an incredibly unique and outstanding voice, though it's a shame that he has since left the band. The opening track also introduces the awesome riffage that permeates the whole album, and it toys around with some synths throughout that eventually culminate with an absolutely ripping synth solo towards the end of the song. Birotunda keeps up the energy with more synth shredding, along with one of my favorite heavy riffs on the whole album; however, it closes out with a beautiful softer section with strings, atmospheric guitars, and of course, Bobaie's incredible voice.

"As the Waters Rise" is probably the catchiest song on the album, with an infectious 12/8 groove and more amazing vocals. It also features one of the heaviest riffs on the album about 1:30 into the song. One of my favorite parts of this song is the use of the acoustic guitar to augment the sonic environment; some prog metal albums will do this with the acoustic doubling under the electrics, but the distinct acoustic parts in this song make the approach all the more effective.

The epic closer on the album, "The Great Harvest", is probably the hardest song to talk about, simply because there's so much incredible material throughout the monumental 24 minute track. Highlights include two more of the heaviest riffs on the record in "I. Epiphany", and "III. Mutating Light", guitarist Dan White's insanely sexy solo at the end of "II. Dilate My World", some absolutely gorgeous piano-acoustic guitar interplay in "Mutating Light" again, and drummer Tom Rice's awesome chops and double kick work on "IV. Reflections", not to mention the absolutely phenomenal closer "V. Heedless Breath".

It is true that this album does not introduce a new approach to progressive music; that being said, Konom's take on contemporary prog metal is nothing short of perfection, and gets them an easy 5 stars from me.

Report this review (#2589438)
Posted Thursday, August 26, 2021 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Retro Heavy Prog drawing comparisons from the likes of URIAH HEEP, FOREIGNER, ALLMAN BROTHERS, FATES WARNING, MYRATH, HEAD EAST and others, led by talented LOU GRAMM sound-alike vocalist Arya Bobaie.

1. "A Welcome Change" (10:35) Reminds me of ORPHANED LAND, HEAD EAST, IQ, MYRATH, AC/DC, and THE WHO, with Sammy Hagar singing. Solid, straightforward 1980s Prog Metal--even with the jazzy piano interlude in the sixth minute. Keys and guitar doubling up on the solo in the seventh minute is pretty cool. The final two or three minutes sound like a heavier IQ. (17.5/20)

2. "Birotunda" (7:20) opens like a WOBBLER or IQ song before turning URIAH HEEP/FOREIGNER/ RUSH/OZZIE-like before the end of the first minute. (13/15)

3. "As the Waters Rise" (9:34) Reminds me of ORPHANED LAND or MYRATH with Lou Gramm singing. The most proggy song on the album, with some heavily treated vocals during the second half verses. Nice peak at 8:15 (great Eddie Vedder-like vocal performance). Great song. (19/20)

4. "The Great Harvest (88.0) : i. Epiphany (3:54) acoustic guitar picking and dinking around with high-pitched drone in the background opens this one until the rest of the band jumps into drive at the end of the first minute. A RUSH- like heavy metal theme is quickly established--everybody firing on all cylinders in this awesome power weave until things turn down a more melody-driven street and then hit some heavier traffic. Nice guitar lead in the second half of the third minute before bass, guitar, and synth all synch together for a nice patch before RUSHing into a brick wall... (8.75/10) 5. "The Great Harvest: ii. Dilate My World (5:41) ... of piano and deep single note bass thrums over which Arya gives a great John Arch (Fates Warning) performance. Singers John Schlitt (Head East) and Queensr˙che's Geoff Tate also come to mind with this performance. Nice song; great arrangements and spacing, great guitar shredding at the end. (9.25/10) 6. "The Great Harvest: iii. Mutating Light" (2:40) racing off at high speed, we are taken into new territory before a sudden wormhole dumps us into an orb of crystalline acousticity. Nice--and quite unexpected. (4.5/5) 7. "The Great Harvest: iv. Reflections (6:50) now dumped into a spacious bass-dominated Richard Wright/Ambrosia- like soundstage before Arya joins in singing in a heart-felt plaintive performance before the metal brigade steps in at 2:15 when Arya goes Geddy-Lee-ballistic. Unfortunately, he's rather pitchy throughout this brief passage. (It's a very demanding section.) The ensuing instrumental section showcases Dan White's guitar rhythm prowess before it turns djenty. Keys are interesting beneath but perhaps a little too dominated by the guitars and bass. (More volume!) (13/15) 8. "The Great Harvest: v. Heedless Breath (5:24) starts out of the blocks sounding very much like a repeat of the heavier motif of the previous song. It remains RUSH-guitar-trio-centric for the first 90 seconds before the keyboards finally have a chance to sneak up to the front. The surprise here, to me, is that this, the album's final song, is playing out like an instrumental--but, then, at 2:22 the music downshifts into a more keyboard-washed melody over which Arya displays his full range of vocal talents (sounding, again, very much like Foreigner's Lou Gramm. I have to admit to being very much disappointed by this last song--the finale!--as it feels too by-the-numbers, too predictable and even generic. (8.5/10)

Total Time 51:58

B+/four stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection. Fans of early metal will probably find this album especially pleasing. Check it out!

Report this review (#2597519)
Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | Review Permalink

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