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Distorted Harmony - Chain Reaction CD (album) cover


Distorted Harmony


Progressive Metal

3.91 | 148 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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.

TheMasterMofo | 5/5 |


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