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 Gwonam's Top 5 Albums of 2013: Installation 3

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Mr. Game and Watch
Mr. Game and Watch

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PostSubject: Gwonam's Top 5 Albums of 2013: Installation 3   Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:23 pm

Persefone is one of those bands that tries incredibly hard to mix subgenres to varied effect. Occasionally, it'll result in a standout song or two that leave a fair impression with its prog-rock shoulder rubbing guitar virtuoso approach or it'll attack a symphonic metal concept in the next few measures. Calling their approach "neoclassical metal" might be pretentious, yet Spiritual Migration is responsible for much acclaim for the band in its recent incarnation. To have finally found one's voice after so many experiments demonstrates a new synergy the band hadn't truly grasped since its inception.

You can reasonably expect the pomp of prog rock/metal lords Dream Theater when approaching the record, except without much of the cheese that's involved in their deliveries. It's evident that their feet are firmly planted in solo-driven themes and arpeggiations like their contemporaries, but Spiritual Migration does something else. There's a noticeable percussive element that, on previous records, was underplayed by intricate fretting bordering on abuse. The record is heavier than its counterparts in the genre, gently stepping into metalcore without ingesting so much to turn the affair into a chugfest. Simply put, they got the recipe right: solos, punchy percussion/bass accompaniment and a metal element that is overwhelmingly apparent, going against the grain of its previous works.

They can't break their hold on interludes, subtle approaches and a poignant motif visiting nearly every song (heard prominently in Zazen/Metta Meditation, the outro, and a whole minute and a half dedicated to it in Inner Fullness). This same motif is responsible for a lot of the construction of the record - beyond all of its solo impressionism, this simple, gutting progression creates a symphonic atmosphere that, grit and blistering double bass aside, makes for an approachable orchestral affair that I remain thoroughly impressed with long after its release.

The vocal approach can be seen as the only thing moderately troublesome, as the range of the clean vocals is slight. It's a refreshing break from the gutturals that they deliver. In lieu of the harsher vocals, it has charm only because it plays on the novelty of a different technique. If another vocalist were to assume the singing position, it may prove to do the band a world of good when it comes to proficiency. Thankfully, they don't abuse this stylistic divergence on this record as they have so blatantly on Shin-ken or Truth Inside the Shades. Execution could have been a little better in that department, but I find little fault to deter me from it's otherwise infectious and listenable brand of music.

Ultimately, this record brings out an impeccable musicianship from the sum of its parts instead of relying on Yngwie Malmsteen to shoehorn himself into every "shred rock" anthem of the DragonForce fad. Get this fucking record.

Sorry this took forever. I'll finish out with two highlights of 2013 sometime soon.

Squadala, we're off!
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Gwonam's Top 5 Albums of 2013: Installation 3
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