Distorted Harmony
Chain Reaction


4.0
excellent

Review

by areinking USER (5 Reviews)
February 1st, 2019 | 7 replies


Release Date: 07/09/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A tightly composed, progressive adventure that leans a bit too heavily on its influences.

Chain Reaction is a surprisingly mature release for any band, let alone a progressive act with influences as diverse as Distorted Harmony. The songs don't bounce from idea to idea, and riff to riff, like so many others in progressive metal. Instead, each song is tightly composed, making the best of its themes and grooves, always eager to give you just enough of a good thing. The album opener, "Every Time She Smiles", really exemplifies this -- the song introduces and reuses themes in increasingly intricate arrangements. As with the rest of the album, the outstanding vocals give the listener a solid melody to latch on to while atmospheric loops and rock choruses chug underneath.

Comparisons to contemporaries are unavoidable, however. "Misguided" -- absolutely the album stand-out -- descends into Haken and Between the Buried and Me style madness around the three-quarters mark. The folksy "As You Go" ventures into Porcupine Tree's quieter territory. Dream Theater's influence obviously permeates the album. The band clearly modeled their production after Devin Townsend's. But there are distinct electronic influences, too. Most notably, "Nothing (But the Rain)" sounds like something straight off of Massive Attack's Mezzanine, and for that matter, Methylene Blue sounds a lot like "Angel" from that same record. The occasional EDM "wub" or run of synth keys reveals an electronic sensibility underlying the record.

The band's vocalist might be its greatest strength. His voice is powerful and rarely breaks from its smooth timbre, no matter how high or low he sings. The biggest break from this is in "Children of Red", a powerfully delivered condemnation of authoritarian communism, which is screamed in part. The lyrics in general deal with mature topics -- war, depression, religion -- through a perspective derived from the band's Israeli upbringing. The lyrics are manifestly anti-violence and anti-dogma and fittingly match the mood of the music.

Overall, the album checks all the boxes for an excellent progressive metal release: a mix of moods and textures; layered, interesting compositions performed by outstandingly talented musicians; and some new ideas and defiance of expectations, at least relative to music outside this scene. But while Distorted Harmony pay expert homage to their influences, they could stand to define their own sound more, especially instrumentally.


user ratings (65)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
areinking
January 31st 2019


18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Unrelated thought: are the "praise the sun" lyric in Methylene Blue and the song "Hollow" subtle references to Dark Souls? Also the lyric "So say we all", and the song "Nothing (But the Rain)" appear to quote Battlestar Galactica. Clever little Easter Eggs if they were intended...



Scheumke
February 1st 2019


391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Holy shit this still needed a review? This album is really ffing amazing! Had it on regularly since it came out, seen them live when I had the chance. More people need to jump on this record. Pity that their latest one is nowhere near as good as this is.

PyramidNoise
February 1st 2019


269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm amazed this album didn't have a review already! Pos'd

Digging: Venom Prison - Samsara

areinking
February 1st 2019


18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks @PyramidNoise! I just got in to these guys a month ago or so -- has already integrated nicely into my daily mixes. Really, an excellent album.

areinking
February 1st 2019


18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Scheumke - I have to agree about "A Way Out", I don't know what to make of it. I'm planning on dropping a review for that one soon. Stepping outside of one's comfort zone is always risky, and I'm not totally sure it paid off for them.

Scheumke
February 1st 2019


391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'Stepping outside of one's comfort zone is always risky, and I'm not totally sure it paid off for them.'

The problem is that they stepped out of their comfort zone into the djenty which is every modern progmetal bands comfort zone, completely losing what made them special to begin with.

areinking
February 1st 2019


18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Scheumke - I totally agree. I think they took a step back with A Way Out.



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