England, Norway, Sweden, Germany - all European countries who have some of the greatest metal acts of our day associated with them. But Andorra? Well, you get ten metal points for even having heard of the place before, and fifty bonus points if you've heard of one of it's greatest exports - Persefone, named after the daughter of the mythological Greek goddess Demeter. Their debut album, Truth Inside The Shades
is a masterly piece of work, combining elements of melodic and progressive death together with hints of classical and symphonic influences and some avant garde thrown in just for kicks. Here we're talking the likes of Opeth, Dark Tranquility and Winds, with even more epic
What started off as a single song demo evolved into a full length album that took six months to record and produce. The band took no shortcuts in its making either; Truth
is a well polished record both in the songwriting and production departments. The myriad of interweaving melodic guitar solos, piano and synth arrangements, changing tempos, aggressive double bass and slow single beats that occur throughout create an atmosphere that so many symphonicly influenced metal albums try so desperately to achieve (and many can never quite pull off right) - Persefone do it, and they do it exceedingly well.
With four of the six songs going past the eight minute mark, this album is a lot to take in, but is worth every minute of it. The band themselves have described truth
as being a concept album, exploring the transition from life to death, with each song marking a stage along the way, until mans acceptance of death. It's all very dark and is reflected very well in the lyrics, which, although are arguably rather cliche, are (if you're willing to look into it) interesting to take a look at nevertheless.
"Fear kills my senses
My mind is slaved in an abstract sky
My solitude, dead heart screams
Mystical cries involved in death"
-Niflheim (The Eyes That Hold The Edge)
Note: In Norse Mythology, Niflheim (Land of Mists) is the realm of ice and cold were the frost giants reside.
The vocals are no slouch either, with Iwar and Rdiger alternating vocal duties between deathly growls and sometimes harmonized cleanly sung passages, demonstrated very well in the epic Atemporal Divinity
. Instrumentaly, all members of the band are well versed in what they do. One stand out however, is Miguel, whom is possibly one of the most amazing keyboardists in metal today. The opening track, My Unwithered Shrine
is a purely instrumental track featuring only Miguel setting the tone of what is to come, clearly showing the bands classical roots. His work on the title track too, is outstanding. The acoustic brake at around the four minute mark displays his talent and feel brilliantly. Carlos and Jordi, who share lead and rhythm guitar duties, are great at both beautiful harmony and aggressive shred reminecent of bands like Kalmah and Norther. The guitar work on the closing track The Demise of Oblivion
is to die for.
Personally, my favorite thing about this album is the feel
that the band has. Each song flows so amazingly into each other, the tempo changes are perfectly done, the transitions into different sections of each song are just done uncompromisingly well, everything just works
. As a concept album, it is like a story with a complex plot, meant to be read from beginning to end, with a prologue and an epilogue neatly nested already within the song titles. Nevertheless, this to some may put a dampener on the album in that sometimes the songs blend into each other too well and it's easy to get lost within the music. Some may complain of repetitiveness because of it, and it's a balance that is subjective to each listener. I feel that the sheer complexity and instrumentation is more than enough to overcome that problem, but again, it is
Another negative that stems from this problem is that the album can leaves you feeling somewhat unsatisfied. It's something that almost impossible to place a finger on that keeps this from getting a Five. While I'd hesitate to call this album something totally new, it certainly holds its own among more well established and popular bands and does have a certain class of its own. It's almost a level up, but not quite there. Despite the minor problem however, in technical and songwriting terms, this album is flawless. Its atmosphere and scope is epic and is a definite listen to anyone who enjoys a full metal blast.
+ Great instrumentation and arrangements
+ Good vocals
+ Untouched atmosphere and feel
+ Diverse piece of work
- Feels short
- Leaves you wanting more
The Truth inside the shades
Niflheim (The Eyes That Hold The Edge)
The Demise of Oblivion