Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Distorted Harmony ~ Utopia

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Style: progressive, heavy metal, Israeli
Label: self-released
Year: 2012
Home: Tel Aviv, Israel

Members: Misha Soukhinin ~ vocals
Guy Landau ~ guitars
Yoav Efron ~ keyboards
Iggy Jalapeno ~ bass
Yogev Gabay ~ drums


Additional: Daniel Markovich ~ saxophone

Israel's DH have churned out a prog-metal album that opens with the mysteriously titled "Kono Yume", until one finds out it means "This Dream" in Japanese. But, with the other songs being "Breathe", "Obsession", "Blue", "Unfair" & "Utopia" there is a bit of mystery to the surroundings & DH are certainly looking to create a dreamy ride. "Kono Yume" opens with acoustic piano appeggios soon joined by contrasting soft strings light in the mix before guitars chime in making a symphonic crescendo, then it all turns into more traditional sounding riffing & soloing leading back into moments of piano & acoustic guitar as a light voice whispers in. "Kono Yume" is an eight minute technical powerhouse opening that casually moves from bit to bit with just enough repetition so it all gels together as a single unit yet still crosses both soft & heavy moments with equal skill. Actually, it's impossible to describe the sound of DH, as its really impossible to describe prog-rock whatever the band, but those who know the career of vocalist Lana Lane or her keyboard playing spouse Erik Norlander will find similiarities in arrangements & flow. Though some might also call up the heavier end of the prog spectrum via Ayreon. There's also hints of Dream Theater but without the overly indulgent instrumental parts. This firmly sits in the modern age of prog-metal. The five tracks that follow follow the same instrumentation of acoustic & electric guitars & pianos with symphonic backgrounds that do have similiarities but also their own individual twists. "Breathe" is a diving guitar rocker that even includes a heavy bass solo that turns into a guitar minefield, literally it sounds like a soldier running through a minefield like in a movie where one knows the soldier will be safe but the explosions are going off every second. DH constructs a sound that is aiming for the same thing prog forefathers Yes aimed for - sound like an orchestra but without the strings. Yes, the guitars may riff & solo but the end result is something where the whole is supposed to be stronger than the pieces. With all but one song lasting an average of eight minutes this might technically be an EP based on songcount but its far from being short on music. The title track is over twelve minutes. It doesn't feel like all the songs are eight minutes on their own, but taken in a single listen the songs aren't always distinctive enough & do blend into each other making it feel the hour plus that it is. Some shorter songs would be a nice break from the length & give the individuality back that's lost in a straight through listen. There's a delightful inclusion of a saxophone in "Unfair" which might be a rarity in a prog-rock song. Sadly, one of the reasons the songs lose their individuality in a full listen is because all the songs come to feel like they're in the same mood. There's a general emotional seriousness with an under-developed emotional pallette. After numerous listens I found it a bit of a struggle to connect with the album on an emotional level as its a bit of a serious affair.







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