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METHEXIS

Crossover Prog • Greece


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Methexis biography
Greek project METHEXIS is the creative vehicle of Nikitas Kissonas (ex-VERBAL DELIRIUM, also currently a member of Greek conceptual avant garde performance band YIANNEIS). And it was following the release of their debut album that Kissonas hit the studio, to record music he had been working on for many years himself. With the aid of drummer Nikos Miras, and invaluable assistance by sound engineer Leonidas Petropolous, an album's worth of material unfolded, and was finalized as the CD ''The Fall of Bliss'' in 2011. An album aspiring to acknowledge the heritage of 1970's progressive rock whilst incorporating elements from music of a more contemporary origin, placed within a conceptual framework.

Following the release of this initial production, preparations for a second Methexis CD have begun. This time also involving additional musicians applying their skills to the proceedings.

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3.63 | 45 ratings
The Fall of Bliss
2011

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METHEXIS Reviews


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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by bhikkhu
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars One of my goals has always been to favor promotion of more obscure artists over those that get vast amounts of publicity. That is why I am grateful for the willingness of people like Nikitas Kissonas to make direct contact. It is guarantee not every CD sent is going to be gem. So far the majority has turned out to be something worth talking about, like Methexis.

Nikitas has been contributing to the progosphere as a member of Verbal Delerium. Even though two additional musicians do appear on 'The Fall of Bliss,' Methexis is essentially Nikitas Kissonas on his own. Music originating in Greece is also a point interest. Outside of the classic Aphrodite's Child you don't hear much about Greek prog. An accent in the vocal and geography however are all that reflect the country of origin.

Dark, gloomy and undeniably infectious, 'The Fall of Bliss' owes to the classic sound but rests more comfortably in the modern realm. The strongest influence heard may be Discipline/Matthew Parmenter. Certainly Nikitas must be a fan of the vocal style, especially in the more seething passages. The symphonic title suite holds its own identity but travels in somewhat familiar territory. The first few tracks are where something a bit more unique takes place. Imagine once again the aforementioned influences and apply them on a jazz foundation. Disillusioned singers are not exactly scarce but how often do you have a jazzy little shuffle to go along with the depression? Not enough for you? Try some Manhattan Transfer-esque harmonies just for good measure. Throw in grooves, well placed keyboards, a hint of psychedelia, quality composition, excellent guitar work and Methexis is off and running. Of course because this is modern prog the obligatory metal licks are included as well.

I knew the music would be worth checking out after hearing the website samples. The unexpected part was finding how much I liked 'The Fall of Bliss' once the disc was in hand. Nikitas Kissonas is a talented musician and composer. But talent does not always translate into anything people want to hear. Methexis is a project with great appeal. Well, let me qualify that last statement. If you only like sunny happy tunes perhaps you might want to pass. I am a positive person, but good music is good music. I'll take it in any mood. The effective blending of styles and top-notch musicianship are what makes the aficionado take notice. The alluring song craft is what keeps you coming back.

'The Fall of Bliss' was released in 2011, but I was only recently introduced. I certainly hope this project and its creator continue to make compelling music. As the rant frequently pops up in my ramblings, prog must progress. Nikitas Kissonas is doing his part and deserves support.

H.T. Riekels

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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by jampa17
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dark, deep and obscure. That's the words I choose to describe this strange and beautiful piece of music.

Methexis is a solo project by multi-instrumentalist Nikitas Kissonas. It's frequent to find crossover prog projects that are slow paced and dark. That's the case with this particular album. It consists in 7 obscure songs focused on guitar harmonies and retro-style keyboards setting the tone and dark environment to the low heavy vocals.

What you will find are really great moody songs, slow paced and dark. The harmonies are great and it might be tough for a casual listener to keep the track, especially because the vocals, that aren't that commercial or catchy. But the album definitely grows with the time, the songs are strong and interesting enough to keep you wondering about it.

I think that it's easier to dive in the music in a cloudy lazy afternoon or when you are depressed. You will love the experience. The physical copy of the album is really nice because of the art that enforces the mood and the tone of the album.

To make it brief, think of Neal Morse's music, only without the bombastic "good" vibe. This is more obscure and depressive. Which is great.

I find it pleasing to hear it from time to time. I really hope Nikitas keep the track and bring out more music like this. Crossover prog has a lot to offer to the world and Methexis is a pleasing discovery for me. Four strong stars after several months of constant spinning. Highly recommended.

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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars Unfinished business?

In between the releases of Verbal Delirium (now ex-group of) Nikitas Kissonas self-produced and released ''The Fall of Bliss'' via the Methexis moniker. Coming in a nice digipak with some absurd, dark but beautiful artwork, the package seems ready to intrigue from the first moment.

Nikitas uses some really unconventional melodies and musical scales to dress his first album. The influences here range from majestic Greek music composers (Xarhakos) and dark heavy progressive themes in the vein of Porcupine Tree to purely eclectic prog structures reminding of Beardfish and Gentle Giant. All this is covered with an avant-garde artistic aesthetic and a veil of mystery and theatrical elements, especially boosted by the many acoustic guitars. Not sure if Devil Doll are within Nikita's influences but they tend to come to mind at times. The general tempo is slow, dark and quirky but occasional blasts are not absent (Track the Saviours).

For a home production this release sounds exceptionally professional and the overall musicianship is far from average. The selective use of mandolin definitely strikes a chord and the "clean", polished production is a definite plus. I was not blown away by the vocal sections, nevertheless matching the overall quirky atmosphere, which I feel could do with some improvement, but can not deny Kissona's proficiency in the rest of the instruments. The ideas, although carefully "studied", are a mixed bag, ranging from the indifferent to the majestic. Where a composition appears to have dwindled away, there comes a moment of grandeur and lifts it up but the opposite can happen, leading to an undeniably intriguing listen.

In this case, the term "crossover" can be quite misguiding as I feel this album might appeal more to those with an eclectic taste for unconventional melodies. Not exactly my cup of tea, but with a potential to surprise, "The Fall of Bliss" is a promising start for Methexis.

Many thanks go to Nikitas for sending the album to review.

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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Greek project METHEXIS is the creative vehicle of Nikitas Kissonas (formerly of Verbal Delirium), and "The Fall of Bliss" is his first ever solo production. The album was issued in 2011, and is a self released production.

As far as debut albums go, Methexis' one is of the kind I'd describe as an uneven experience. He's got many fine ideas going, he's rather creative in his endeavors too, but the compositions appears as somewhat underdeveloped to me. Alternating between being too repetitive in some cases, trying to fit too much into the individual compositions in others, and a few cases of basically being somewhat strange. Not a bad album as such mind you, but a production that will have a niche appeal rather than a broad one presumably.

A typical case of what I'd describe as a strange track appears in the shape of Track the Saviours. Opening with a compelling and energetic bass and drums based theme expanded with suitable dark toned guitars, which then shifts to a weird staccato start and stop riff and vocals dominated sequence that use some sort of new wave inspired melodic interlude in between the verse parts. The compelling opening theme is revisited later on, but it's the verse and chorus parts that follows the introduction that will make this piece one with a limited niche appeal.

The following piece The Aftermath is another item that won't have a universal appeal as far as I can tell, the dark, theatrical vocals employed here an acquired taste if anything, and the manner in which this otherwise careful acoustic guitar and keyboard textured construction have been assembled is another instance of a unique and somewhat strange construction.

The four part suite The Fall of Bliss, which ends this disc, is a creation somewhat easier to listen to, but again sporting some unique touches that will see this dark and brooding composition to be a creation that will have a somewhat limited appeal I'd guess. Each of the different parts focusing on a rather different expression altogether, and concluding with a 6 minute long stretch of fairly depressive and brooding variety of progressive rock.

Personally I found the piano ballad Lines on a Bust to be a highlight, sporting intense vocals on top of a slightly jazz-oriented piano motif, and opening track Eradicated Will with it's gentle acoustic guitar driven movements alternating with darker toned, riff driven ones another fine piece of fairly engaging progressive rock.

If you have a taste for artists opting for a somewhat unique and fairly dark and theatrical expression, utilizing a sonic palette that stretch from careful jazz-oriented excursions to brooding harder edged progressive rock, then this initial effort by Greek project Methexis is one that probably warrants an inspection. Especially if you're fond of productions of a kind and character that needs to be listened through some times before their strengths will be revealed.

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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars Well played and produced, this album has a dark mood which reminds me to the work of the Argentinian Alejandro Matos. Both Methexis (Nikitas Kissonas) and Matos are multi- instrumentists and one-man projects. The vocals are the most different thing: Kissonas has a big vocal extension from falsetto to baritone and is sometimes able of very powerful notes.

"Eradicated Will" is the longest and one of the easiest tracks of the album. A good introduction which hides some of the darkness to come. The melody is Crimsonian and the baritone pitch gives it a Canterbury flavor, but the interludes on which the guitar is more powerful and the vocal chorus move the ambient to the post-rock area. An artsy thing in any case, but not too challenging. Of course one has to be in the right mood for it. The guitar solo that comes after a slow dark passage is one of the best things of the whole album, but it''s clear that guitar is the main instrument for Kissonas, or at least it seems so to me. Let me just add that before getting into this album I needed several listens, more than usual.

"Poetic Mirrors Wound Heroes" has a lazy start and an unusual signature. Again, I hear a hint of Canterbury, just in little things like few piano notes before the singing starts in example. The vocals here are (not too) high pitched and recorded twice and overlapped to form a jazzy choir. The keyboard riff is good and I like imagining Robert Wyatt's voice singing on it.

"Those Howling Wolves" starts low-volume and with low-pitched vocals. The idea of howling comes from a keyboard sound which seems taken from horror movies of the 60s. The base is provided by an electric piano. Piano is the base for "Lines On A Bust". The song is good and more melodic than the preceeding one, but two consecutive so slow songs should not be placed in this order. Taken alone this is an excellent song. Jazzy in some parts, reminding of Greg Lake in some other, especially when piano and vocals perform a short crescendo to end the song on a very high note that''s almost a scream. Now some rock.

"Track The Saviours" could be called Heavy Prog or even Prog-Metal, but the melody is more challenging than one could expect. We can consider it split in two: a metal part and a chorus which seems taken from Soft Machine (in terms of mood). Nice but not easy, as the two parts are very different. The good is that there are no sudden changes and everything flows smoothly.

On "The Aftermath" the melody is quite challenging and the vocals are again low-pitched. I have the impression of a kind of reprise from the first track...some circularity.

The title track intro, which lasts less than two minutes, is just a short piece of classical guitar. Good but not special. The birds behind can''t lighten the general darkness, but it''s a good listen. It proceeds with "Part 1". The hard guitar explosion after the calm start makes me think to Sysiphus Part 4 (Ummagumma), then what follows is a sequence of distorted harmonies which are very dark and sad. Neither the good acoustic guitar riff can make a smile rise. The Interlude is very classically oriented, at least in the starting phase. This is I think the proper song. On the album it''s defined as instrumental, but there''s a sang chorus which is then reprised on Part II. This "interlude" features another very good guitar riff. Even though still very dark, this is one of the most accessible tracks. "Part II" closes this mini-suite in the darkest possible way. The heavy guitar makes me think even to Kayo Dot and the vocal''s melody is even grotesque. Join minds Join hearts Free your sight It looks like a positive message, but listen to how it''s screamed into the dark. It's a good album which I could rate 3.5. This time I want to round it down because I think Kissonas shows his capacities and potential here, and has the possibility of improving a lot with his next release. You can order it from bandcamp as "name your price" with a minimum of 10 dollars. The package contains some painting drawn by the painter Dimitra Papadimitriou as well as the album cover is.

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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Methexis from Greece is one man project aka Nikitas Kissonas with some help of a drumer. He released in 2011 the first offer named The fall of bliss. Well, I didn't know what to expect from this band and album when first aproach it and expectations were not high, really. It turning to be so, because this type of so called prog these days is not for me, I mean I never liked Poercupine Tree or Anathema , and here we get a lor from those two bands, so the result is simply and concise, I don't like this album almost at all. I have nothing against this band or musician but the music offered by Methexis to my ears is almost boring with little spectacular moments. I sure appreciated the hard work this guy put on, specially when is almost one man project , with a little help from a drumer. No piece is specificaly in front or better one to other. To much mellow passages and indie rock in atmosphere that remind me of PT a lot. So I will be drastic this time and sorry for that but is impossible for me, 2.5 stars to this one, I don't get the hype of this band has got around and how the hell someone can give 5 stars to this one, is beyond me.

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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars As the musical world becomes ever more connected, I find it odd that the prevalence of one- man bands seems to be on the rise. Bedroom producers, as they have been termed, have popped up in a vast array of musical circles, with the most well-known of them most likely being the experimental metal mastermind Ben Sharp in the form of Cloudkicker. Here, however, we have the Greek offering of Nikitas Kissonas in the form of Methexis. A lover of eclectic and progressive music, the album, titled 'The Fall of Bliss,' takes influence from a vast array of modern rock and classic prog bands, making a delicacy of new sounds and styles.

'The Fall of Bliss' is an interesting dish. Full of dark, brooding melodies, the music wavers in and out of a classic prog flourishes and modern indie rock and even hard rock passages that really accentuate the novelty of the music. From the well-placed riffing in 'Eradicated World' to the gentle yet dark indie acoustic style of 'The Aftermath,' the album has just about all that you'd like in a fresh modern prog debut, including a 20-plus-minute titular epic. Clever lyrics explore themes of societal confusion, a changing world, and other dynamic concepts. Kissonas, who handles all instruments except drums and piano on 'Lines on a Dust,' does a fantastic job at crafting a delicate and powerful atmosphere by pairing emotive vocals with precise guitar lines and spurts of tactful keyboards, ranging from Hammond to Rhodes.

While some musical parts seem a bit out of place, like the melodic progression in 'Track the Saviours,' which jumps between falsetto and whispered vocal lines between oddly balanced pop metal riffs, the album as a whole holds together excellently both thematically and musically. The balance between heavy bits and light bits make for an incredibly well balanced album, especially for a one-man debut. Mature song-writing and instrumentation run amuck, and classical arrangements, such as the a cappella arrangement opening 'Poetic Mirrors Wound Heroes' or the acoustic guitar arrangement in the intro to 'The Fall of Bliss,' add a wonderful flair to an otherwise great sound.

I was pleasantly surprised by this album. The promotional aspect of this album came right around the time that a number of other bands were flying their band's banner high and begging for reviews, so I was skeptical about this little Greek project. On my first listen, the dark and rough tone of the music threw me off a bit, but after only a few listens the genius of the compositions, tone, and dynamics began to sink in. Kissonas has significant musical prowess, and whatever work he does in the future is sure to gain significant attention. 4 stars.

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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I am always tremendously impressed by albums which are by and large the work of a single person. It is often unfathomable to me that one person can be talented enough to not only write a complete progressive rock album but also perform the entire thing.

Well, add Nikitas Kissonas the list of those who have pulled it off, and maybe make a new list for those who have pulled it off with such flying colors. The Fall of Bliss is an absolute stunner of an album, finding common ground with many other progressive rock bands while simultaneously finding its own niche and excelling there.

I think that, in an alternate universe, Storm Corrosion could have come out sounding a lot like this album, and I absolutely mean that as a compliment. From the very first twanging notes of "Eradicated Will," I can hear a lot of both Steven Wilson and Mikael Akerfeldt's softer moments in this music, and, quite frankly, you can't do much better than to be compared to those two.

I certainly don't mean to suggest that this is anything other than extremely fresh, original music, though. The Fall of Bliss is one of those albums that seems at the same time familiar and completely unique, and it's never content to sit for too long in the same place. Even within the first track the music goes from lilting, off-kilter vocal harmonies to epic guitar solos to climactically heavy motifs and back again, and never once does it feel forced or disjointed.

With such a satisfying opener there might be some worry that the album is bound to go downhill, but fortunately it doesn't. "Poetic Mirrors Wound Heroes" makes perfect use of gorgeous vocal harmonies to create music that is simultaneously epic and extremely relaxing. "Those Howling Wolves" drops into a darker, more sinister vein, and yet, like magic, it still manages to keep the album's chilled-out, atmospheric, almost breezy feel going. It's simply stunning.

"Lines on a Bust" comes next, and I think it would have fit very well on Pain of Salvation's Be. Gorgeous piano and high vocals create an incredibly emotional atmosphere that bring the listener into a very relaxed place before metaphorically smacking them over the head with the relative heaviness of "Track the Saviours." "The Aftermath" reminds me very strongly of Opeth's quieter moments circa Watershed, with beautifully, slightly atonal guitars and a very effective symphonic interlude, complete with simulated vinyl cracks and pops.

And then, of course, we have the wonderful four-part title track to close out the album. From the delicately beautiful intro, replete with sampled birdsong to the noisy, crashing conclusion, the track(s) is (are?) a trip for the duration of their combined run time of more than 20 minutes. A multitude of atmospheric sonic textures and wonderful instrumental interplay take the track from the relaxing motifs that have dominated the album to more intense and climactic themes, the latter figuring especially prominently in Part 2. The Interlude, too, I feel deserves special praise, featuring some of the most beautiful music on the album and of course transitioning very well between the more relaxed Part 1 and the more intense Part 2.

Overall, The Fall of Bliss is one of the most impressive albums I've heard this year, especially considering that it essentially a solo project. Fans of Storm Corrosion should find a whole lot to like hear, as will anyone who's ever listened to a progressive metal album and thought that the softer, more atmospheric bits were the best parts. A killer album overall and one that has one of the most impressive ambiences I've heard in a long while.

4.5/5, rounded up

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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars When I was approached by Nikitas Kissonas to review this album, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I mean, firstly he is from Greece which is not a country normally associated with progressive rock music (with Vangelis and Aphrodite's Child being obvious exceptions) and secondly this is a solo album in the truest sense of the word with only one other musician, Nikos Miras who provides drums with Nikitas doing everything else. He told me that he decided to release it himself as either the labels weren't interested in him, or eventually he wasn't interested in them as he wanted to have complete control himself, so I was intrigued to hear the end result.

Then one day an envelope arrived, and I certainly wasn't expecting to open it and find a digipak and booklet filled with great artwork (care of Dmitra Papadimitriou who definitely deserves a namecheck), with all of the lyrics etc. It certainly doesn't seem like a one-man effort, and the music definitely reinforces that. Nikitas used to be a member of Verbal Delirium and is currently a member of the Greek conceptual avant garde performance band Yianneis and it was following the release of their debut album that he locked himself in the studio to start work on this which he describes as symphonic-progressive.

It is an album of great depth and complexity, with lots going on. At times it is over the top and in your face while at others there is a real feeling of space with just gentle instrumentation. The use of 'real' drums definitely enhances the feel, and there is a controlled dark emotion that pervades the music as a separate layer, and the vocals are sometimes delicate and almost whispered and at others they are passionate and fraught. The combination of fragile vocals and delicate piano at the beginning of 'Lines on a Bust' are Hogarth-era Marillion at its' best, but for the most part the one band that appears to have influenced Nikitas more than any other is probably Discipline, and any fan of their incredible music will definitely appreciate this album.

It is an incredible piece of work, even more so as it is just one person creating this world, and I believe that the next album will be more of a band piece, but in the meantime this is highly recommended for all progheads. methexis.bandcamp.com/

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 The Fall of Bliss by METHEXIS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 45 ratings

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The Fall of Bliss
Methexis Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars Methexis is a one-man product (with just a little help from others, e.g. a drummer) by the Greek musician Nikitas Kissonas. Well, these facts have been already repeated many times, I'll concentrate in my reception of the music itself! It may not represent my ideal prog rock for all of its parts, but at least I'm impressed by the high technical level. The nearly 9-minute opener - that can be heard on Methexis' home page - gives quite an accurate picture, this is rather dark-mooded and approaching Heavy Prog / Prog Metal. That's not the genre I'm very familiar with, so my comparisons come from more mainstream prog. I think GENTLE GIANT could be one classic band Kissonas has listened to, and from the later bands I'd bet on some American and Swedish eclectic proggers such as SPOCK'S BEARD, ECHOLYN or BEARDFISH, in addition to the heavier side of prog (ANATHEMA is mentioned here).

The second track 'Poetic Mirrors Wound Heroes' has some Gentle Giant -vibe, then the third one, the creepy 'Those Howling Wolves' brings some of PORCUPINE TREE's mellower tracks to mind. Kissonas favours slow, stretched vocal lines, and frankly later on it gets a bit to my nerves, that doomy line-by-line preaching, for example in the 4-part title track: "Join hands / join minds / join hearts / free you sight / burn the flags" etc. and similarly later on: "Leave your house / leave your job / leave your needs / leave your clones / we are one / common breath / we're the whole". I'm not very fond of his vocals, but he does that job pretty well too, in addition to his impressive multi-instrumentalism (guitars, bass, mandolin, keys, programming). My favourite track is the melancholic and delicate piano-based 'Lines on a Bust' (piano played by someone called Jargon).

'Track the Saviours' is heavy and fast, obviously my least fave here. 'The Aftermath' is again slow and doom-spirited but nicely very delicate in arrangement, using mostly just acoustic guitar plus strings-reminding keys (mellotron?). Could ANEKDOTEN be an accurate comparison? The roughly 21-minute title epic has definitive highlights of the album. The short instrumental 'Intro' has some bird-singing and beautiful acoustic guitar, reminding of STEVE HACKETT. 'Part 1' (8:20) is an eclectic composition with many changes in tempo, and a large scale of dynamics. I always like it when the atmosphere is being created by minimal layers of sounds, but on the other hand the vocal parts here are among the most irritating as I said.

But despite some parts I dislike, I can say that listening to the whole album is clearly on the positive side, and the 51 minutes (I lessened the four minutes of 'Track the Saviours' that I skip) seem to go surprisingly fast, even though I'm a bit unhappy with how the epic evolves and ends. With more instrumental portions this would have been better to my ears. But anyway, a very good effort. Kissonas has clearly given his all into this project. Best of luck for future projects!

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