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Special Providence

Progressive Metal

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Special Providence Soul Alert album cover
3.84 | 80 ratings | 4 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Babel Confusion (7:24)
2. Lazy Boy (5:59)
3. Asparagus (8:20)
4. K2 (6:13)
5. Untold Chapter (5:12)
6. Incredible Flower (8:10)
7. Standing Still (3:52)
8. Soul Alert (7:40)
9. Return to Childhood (3:42)
10. Fences of Reality (3:50)

Total Time 60:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Márton Kertész / guitar
- Zoltan Csery / piano, keyboards
- Attila Fehérvári / bass
- Adam Marko / drums

- Balázs Tanka / vocals (10)

Releases information

CD Hunnia Records - HRCD 1111 (2011, Hungary)

LP Hunnia Records - HRLP 1303 (2013, Hungary)

Digital album

Thanks to toroddfuglesteg for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SPECIAL PROVIDENCE Soul Alert ratings distribution

(80 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Soul Alert' - Special Providence (8/10)

Although I'm sure there's a band out there that screws it up somehow, I don't think I've ever heard a band that made the fusion of jazz and metal sound bad. Hungary's Special Providence does not tend to break this lucky streak I've had with this style; in fact, this quartet has produced some of the best metal fusion I've heard in a while. Being both without favouring one or the other, jazz and metal aficionados may find themselves debating what to arbitrarily label this music as from dusk 'til dawn, but they won't be disappointed; 'Soul Alert' is an early 2012 highly for both styles.

Depending on who you ask, metal fusion could either sound light and only occasionally heavy- as per the case of more recent bands like Germany's Relocator- or it could be a more 'extreme' form, as was true for the style's origins in death metal. Special Providence have more in common with Pat Metheny than Cynic or Atheist, and though much of the band's sound on 'Soul Alert' is geared towards laid-back, guitar-oriented chemistry, there is enough riff-heavy kick to give metalheads their fix. Genres aside, Special Providence's music is (mostly) instrumental, and surprisingly varied. Kertész Márton's guitar leads are the most immediate aspect of the album, but a prog-canon synthesizer also gets a fair chunk of the 'solo' kudos.

The first thing to strike me while listening to 'Soul Alert' was the refined skill of the band. Although the often open-ended instrumentation takes several listens to warm up to, Special Providence hits a nice middle ground between technical showmanship and emotional energy. Think Dream Theater when they're not trying to level a small city with speed, and there's a good impression of what Special Providence is going for in their music. Pair that with a crisp sense of production, and 'Soul Alert' sounds as professional as any album you might hear in progressive music nowadays.

Barring the two main ingredients that Special Providence make use of in their sound, there was also a slight dimension of electronica that made for a catchy add-on. Although most of the album focuses on the musicianship and arrangement over melody, the standout track 'Lazy Boy' has a ridiculously catchy theme; a simple melody made memorable by a clever use of electronic sounds and pseudo-dance rhythms. Although 'Soul Alert' at times feels a little longwinded for its often indulgent musicianship, hearing that catchy motif reprise on the album's last track makes for an incredibly effective finale. As a final surprise, Special Providence wait until the last track to offer some vocals; a higher-register singing that emphasizes the melody. Although it feels a little awkward to hear vocals after an hour of instrumental wandering, it makes for a pretty interesting, albeit brief twist in the band's sound.

Of course, if you're not a fan of the exploratory, 'wandering' experience that jazz of this style offers, 'Soul Alert' may appear inaccessible. For its most-part scarcity of standout melody, 'Soul Alert' does take a while to enjoy, but if they had not already; Special Providence demonstrate here that they are one of the most promising bands in metal fusion today.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars SPECIAL PROVIDENCE are a four piece Jazz/Metal band out of Hungary and this is album number three from 2011. I have the first two studio albums as well and I would highly recommend their debut "Space Cafe", a solid 4 star record. The next one and this one called "Soul Alert" are both 3.5 star albums in my opinion but the second one I rated at three stars and this one I'm bumping up to 4 stars as it is a step better than the last one they did. It's interesting that the band has brought in a singer for one track on each of the first three albums, kind of like what LONG DISTANCE CALLING were doing early in their careers.

These are virtuoso players, all going to music schools to improve their skills and it shows. The sound quality is perfect and man this is complex but they never lose sight of melody on here. The drummer really stands out for me but all four are amazing. I love how jazzy this is and seeing people refer to them as a Jazz band is pretty cool given how heavy these guys can get when they switch to Prog-Metal, and often this happens on a dime. My biggest issue with this record is the sounds of the synths and how prominent they are, but there's no way I can dismiss what incredible compositions and playing is going on here.

Ten tracks worth 60 minutes and right from the first spin this had my undivided attention. It just seems like a while that I've listened to such heavy and complex music, but that is the minority on here as this really is Jazz/Fusion for the most part. The opener "Babel Confusion" is a great example of this as it opens with heavy outbursts with screaming sounds in there too before settling into a Jazz mood with piano, bass and drums. Some beautiful music before 3 minutes but also we get synths and guitar scorching the soundscape at times on this one.

"K2" is interesting the way they use the synths to pulse and we drift kind of close to someone like myself pulling out some dance moves here. This is far from a perfect album in my world and it's the synths that make this somewhat defective sounding at times. I would also suggest that these sections would go over well in a live setting, and this band plays at festivals and other live events quite often, at least they did back in the late 00's early 10's. The vocal track is okay but the one thing I liked about LONG DISTANCE CALLING is that it always felt like the one vocal track they added was the best song on the record or at least a top three, not like on here.

Instrumentally this is a lights-out recording but unless you like Metal and Jazz this might not be for you. A low 4 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars These Hungarian lads are first of very gifted and capable instrumental players. Secondly, they can paint a relaxed, accessible yet complex musical spectrum of sounds. Compositional skills, at least on this album, are average but guys compensate it with melodic and creative playing. It's hard to ... (read more)

Report this review (#2435525) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, August 6, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Is this a metal or a jazz album ? Honestly, I cannot answer that question. Special Providence took a very long step towards jazz on their previous album Labyrinth. And I do not know what they were on their debut album though. But on Soul Alert, or should that be Jazz Alert ?...... Special Prov ... (read more)

Report this review (#617271) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, January 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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