Review Summary: Persefone complete their stylistic revamp, but sacrifice their individuality and integrity in the process.
13 of 14 thought this review was well written
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’s almost nothing remarkable about their latest offering bar the geographical location of the people who created it.
“Spiritual Migration” is a regression in almost every single way from the band’s previous albums. Gone are the euphoric riffs and wailing solos, replaced by metalcore-like chugging and fretboard wankery. Gone are the classically-influenced progressive passages, replaced by cheesy, overbearing synthesisers and sound effects. “Spiritual Migration” appears to be an attempt to refine the band’s sound, but at the cost of their individuality and artistic integrity. The album starts off relatively promisingly with a decent track in “Mind as Universe”, containing some fairly interesting riffs as well as some tasteful, atmospheric keyboard work. 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. The band may throw an intricate guitar harmony at you once in a while, but said harmonies 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.
It’s not all bad, obviously. 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, eventually progressing into a soaring guitar harmony, all while retaining the same underpinning rhythm. 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 all too often.
The biggest issue presented here is that the album is wildly inconsistent in terms of quality, with a mix of excellent and incredibly bland instrumentation. By the time the second half of the album rolls along, there are virtually no riffs (or chugs, rather) left worth mentioning, and while the harsh vocal performance is impressive, the clean performance is completely insipid and jars with the rest of the music, aesthetically. For the most part, when the band decides they need to kick things up notch, we’re greeted with aimless, wanky, finger-tapping guitar solos that leave no lasting impression whatsoever. Most of the songs themselves are also inconsistent, initially appearing to progress quite nicely but gradually losing all direction as they run on longer, making the longer tracks incredibly frustrating listens. The title track is the worst offender, as it’s repeatedly ruined by poor transitions, a chuggy breakdown and a boring 2 minute pseudo-ambient passage; it eventually just falls apart under its own weight due to a disjointed mish-mash of ideas. While the first half of the album does have its highlights, it seems the band nullified their creative energy in the second half.
“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 kids are probably going to fawn all over this and the band will probably attain some considerable commercial success now, but at what cost? The band has stripped themselves of any individuality, and are now just another unremarkable symphonic metal squad, ready to be chewed up and spit out when the kids flock to the next trendy-core release.
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
Cheers brostep, that's the second review of mine you've picked to shreds lol
I'm thankful for the criticisms though, particularly because I tend to write jarring or run on
sentences quite a bit. But I can tell I'm improving at least, I've also noticed my reviews are getting
shorter, hopefully one day I'll have contributor under my username. Thanks again :D