3 of 3 thought this review was well writtenKoi
are an up-and-coming progressive rock band hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. They started out as purely a metal band, but moved away from the genre due to a desire to prove that not everything in music had been already been done. With this in mind they recorded a debut album, In Tomorrow Hid Yesterday
, which they released for free download on their website on Christmas Day 2009. Their sound is probably best described as a cross between Porcupine Tree
, and Katatonia
, all of which have been cited as influences on them.
The comparisons are pretty obvious from the opening track, The Rabbit
, a song chock full of layered guitar melodies and vocal harmonies a la Porcupine Tree
, yet dripping with dark ambience that wouldn't sound out of place on an Opeth
album. As opening songs go it's pretty good; giving the listener a good idea of Koi
's overall sound, while setting a high standard for the rest of the album, and for the most part the subsequent songs do a good job at living up to this standard.
Navigated to the Blank Undrawn
and the title track are probably the two heaviest songs on the album, with a multitude of chugging guitar riffs and dark menacing keyboards. Whereas Terminal Souls
and Less Than Abstract
both do great jobs as album epics, building slowly with finger-picked guitars and rhythmic drumming before releasing with plenty of distortion and operatic vocals. Despite all this however there a few glaring flaws which keep this band from peaking on their debut.
The first is rather superficial, but the production, obviously being a low-key debut album, isn't that great. The drums are quite low in the mix and it can be hard to hear them at times, as well as this, whenever the band tries to bring out their metal influences the guitars can sound too distorted and it becomes hard to decipher what is actually being played. This may sound a bit shallow but it really does hinder the listener's enjoyment of the album. Secondly there are three interludes on the album, two of which are in a row, and in all honesty none of them were really required.
But the most disappointing feature of the record is the lack of originality, a key aspect for any progressive rock band. The band draws too many ideas from their influences but forgot to add many ideas of their own, from the Karnivool
-style vocals, to the Opeth
-esque mellotrons, and the 'voice through a telephone' effect that Steven Wilson is ever so fond of; hell, even the keyboard arpeggios sound eerily similar to something that Muse
would put out. It's not that the music is bad, quite the opposite in fact, it's pretty damn good, it's just nothing most prog-fans haven't already heard before.
Taking all this into account, In Tomorrow Hid Yesterday
is still worth a listen. With a bit more experience Koi
could easily live up to the standards that their influences have set over the years; this Swedish five-piece has a lot of potential, and they're certainly one to watch for the near future.