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Effloresce

Coma Ghosts

Review by Gary Hill

Prog purists are likely to call this disc “heavy metal.” Surely some of the music here has a lot of metal within and there are some extreme metal vocals. More than anything else this probably fits close to the European epic metal style, but with more progressive rock built into it. Whatever you call it, though, it’s a great disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Crib

Some awesome keyboards open this and build in some great ways, feeling a lit like some kind of retro progressive rock. As the arrangement builds out that general concept seems at first to be continued. Then it fires out to something like epic metal turned progressive rock. The female vocals are powerful. There are a number changes and shifts as this continues. At times it feels a bit like vintage Rush. At other points Yes with some added crunch is a valid reference point. Of course, those only touch on a couple moods presented here. It also gets quite metallic at points.

Spectre Pt. I: Zorya's Dawn
The opening section here seems to combine Rush with metal and fusion. It’s got some definite Dream Theater like qualities at times. The instrumental introduction on this thing runs over two and a half minutes in length and has a lot of changes and alterations. It’s also quite powerful. The vocals here seem even stronger than those on the opener and while some of the later parts take on some crunch (perhaps along the lines of Deep Purple meets Lana Lane), overall this is more purely progressive rock and less metal than its predecessor. That said, there’s a section with extreme metal vocals. Still, overall this is more purely prog than the first one. There’s also an extremely mellow progressive rock meets jazz segment. It’s sure an intense ride as this moves from one thing to the next.
Pavement Canvas
Starting with mellower sounds, they power this out into another killer metallic prog jam. Dream Theater is certainly one band that comes to mind. As this works through its changes it has melodic female vocals and some seriously extreme male ones. It’s another great example of how this band combines progressive rock with some intense metal to create something unique and powerful. While the overall map hasn’t changed that much, it’s certainly different than the previous pieces.
Undercoat
At roughly three minutes in length, this melodic instrumental is easily the shortest here. It’s also purely progressive rock in nature.
Swimming through Deserts
All the ghosts of heavy metal are exorcised here. This is a melodic and powerful piece of modern progressive rock. It’s got plenty of changes and is one of the highlights of the set.
Shuteye Wanderer
Extreme metal vocals are heard on the crunch driven opening to this epic piece. When I say “epic,” I mean “epic” as this tune is over sixteen minutes in length. As one might guess given the length of this beast, it works through a ton of sounds and textures. It’s basically a great vision for what the entire album contains. It never gets repetitive or tiring or boring and is one heck of a ride.
 
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