Review Summary: Persefone complete their stylistic revamp, but sacrifice their individuality and integrity in the process.
With a population that wouldn’t fill Wembley Stadium and an economy only a fraction the worth of the richest man in the United States, Andorra is a modest little nation. When was the last time you heard of an Andorran sports star? Or a high profile Andorran business tycoon? On the surface, it seems there’s not a whole lot that Andorra as a nation can be genuinely proud of. But in the realm of music, Persefone have been flying the Andorran flag proudly for almost a decade now, which is why it saddens me to say there isn’t a whole lot remarkable about their latest offering bar the geographical location of the people who created it.
Spiritual Migration, in terms of quality, is a significant regression from the band’s previous albums. The neo-classically tinged progressive sections and harmonious dual guitar work are gone for the most part, substituted by syrupy electronics and metalcore-style chuggery. Spiritual Migration appears to be an attempt to refine the band’s sound, but at the cost of their individuality and sense of novelty. The album starts off promisingly with “Mind as Universe”, containing some interesting riffs as well as some tasteful, atmospheric keyboard work. But at this point, the band’s stylistic direction is already very obvious. Although the metalcore elements were primarily introduced on Shin-Ken, they are far more prominent on here. The band may throw an intricate guitar harmony at you once in a while, but said harmonies are often suffocated by monotonous chugging and even the odd breakdown, which not only sound out of place but also suffocate the progression in whichever track they appear on.
However, for all the setbacks, there is still a lot to be enjoyed here. If the band really does shine at any point on the record, it’s during the instrumental tracks, which are aided particularly well by some spotless sound engineering. “Zazen Meditation” is a beautiful little track that opens with some sampled bird singing and delicate piano work, building upon itself before fizzling out into a nebula of ambiance. The “Consciousness” two-parter is undoubtedly the highlight of the album. Organic, reverberant drum patterns and yet more excellent piano work build a dense, melancholy atmosphere, while in the second half the guitars kick in and steadily rise and fall in intensity. The instrumental tracks really do highlight the song writing proficiency of the Andorran squad, but it seems as if there’s some conscious decision to fall back on generic clichés a little too often.
The biggest issue is that the album is wildly inconsistent in terms of quality, with a mix of excellent and incredibly bland instrumentation. The vocals are particularly irritating, while the harsh vocal performance is relatively impressive, the insipid, off-key, clean singing jars with the rest of the music and routinely kills any semblance of atmosphere. When the band decides to kick things up notch, we’re often greeted with aimless, ostentatious guitar leads that leave little to no lasting impression. Many of the songs themselves are also inconsistent, initially appearing to progress quite nicely but gradually losing direction as they run on longer. The title track is the worst offender, eventually just falling apart under its own weight due to a disjointed mish-mash of ideas.
Spiritual Migration is so far the low point in Persefone’s career, and unless the band has a collective epiphany, it doesn’t appear as if things are going to get any better. The album takes the lesser aspects of Shin-Ken and amplifies them tenfold, while thinning out the better elements that the latter retained from “Core”. Sure, the band may attain some commercial success now, but at what cost? The music has been stripped of its personality. While it would be harsh to accuse Persefone of making a poor album, it is impossible to be disappointed when you consider what they’re capable of.
i agree completely with the review. pure wank, and the few mellow sections they have are def the highlights (zazen , consciousness). there are a few cool parts here and there but overall they just tried way too hard to make it as flashy as possible
What makes it so curious? It's unclear from the review.
On the surface, it seems there’s not a whole lot the Andorran people can point to and say that they’re glad is a product of their nation.
Kind of a mess, I'd say something more along the lines of "there's not a whole lot to which Andorran people can point and express national pride" or something
the realm of sonic artistic expression, otherwise known as “music”
You can probably cut the crap and just say "music"
Persefone have been flying the Andorran flag proudly for almost a decade now, which is why it saddens me to say there’s almost nothing remarkable about their latest offering bar the geographical location of the people who created it.
You might want to save the second part for a new paragraph - introducing new ideas in a conclusion isn't really a good idea.
single-minded technical wankery
Love this phrase
Spiritual Migration appears to be
forgot some sort of punctuation/formatting around this album name, you have quotes around the other ones but nothing here
Also, it's typically a good idea to italicize albums. I know it's a pain to do, but it makes the review look cleaner.
The album starts off relatively promising
promisingly (adverb, not adjective)
a decent track in general
Not really a good way to start talking about the music. I'd cut this out and save the "decent" for describing specific things. Or maybe "The album starts with the decent track, ..."
But at this point, the band’s stylistic direction is already very obvious, although it was actually their “Shin-Ken” album that primarily introduced the metalcore aspects to the band’s sound, they are far more prominent on here.
Run-on, I'd either switch up its structure or split it in twain (love that word)
The band may throw an intricate guitar harmony at you once in a while, but they are completely suffocated by monotonous chugging and even the odd breakdown, which not only sound out of place but also kill any sense of progression in whichever track they appear on.
1. "they" is unclear as to what it refers to
2. "every" would sound better than "whichever"
The “Consciousness” two-parter is undoubtedly the highlight of the album.
Could use some sort of transition, or else this sentence feels kind of abrupt.
Organic, reverberant drum patterns and yet more excellent piano work build a dense, melancholy atmosphere,
I'd cut the "yet"
it seems as if there’s some conscious decision to fall back on generic clichés all too often.
1. there was
2. "all too often" seems a bit "wrong," if you know what I mean. I'd say "more often than I'd like" or "than listeners would like" or something.
completely devoid of memorability
"completely unmemorable" works better IMO
The title track is the worst offender at this
Cut the "at this"
it almost seems as if the band had a creative nullification in the second half.
I'd say "it seems as if the band nullified its excellence with the second half."
Really really solid 4th paragraph, I'd say that's the highlight of the review. Not entirely sure what you did differently, but it's head and shoulders above the rest of the review (not that the rest is bad, per se).
the low point for Persefone’s career
whilst thinning out
"while" works better IMO
Overall, really solid work and have a pos. Most of these are nitpicks, and it's really well-written overall. I think my only really serious issue with the review is that you start talking about how the album starts in Paragraph 2 without talking enough about the album in general, but that may be just me. Keep up the good work!
also lol @ "Your comment is too long" so I have to split it up. Oh well, more comments for me