Monday, April 18

Methodica - Searching For Reflections

Searching For Reflections


To be perfectly honest, I'm not usually one to stereotype a band. But when something I hear conforms completely to the genre, it cannot be helped. In the case of newcomers Methodica, they deliver almost precisely what is expected of them in this debut: synth-drenched progressive metal marrying Andromeda and Riverside, where most of the songs are over the 10-minute mark. Although they don't bring much originality to the table, they do what they do very well.

Right from the off, the band make their intentions clear with synths blaring and soaring LaBrie-esque vocals (although at least Piubelli can actually sing). Throughout this album, there is a constant feel that this a tour-de-force for keyboardist Baschera, at the expense of the guitar which only really shines during the quite impressive solos, such as in “Ghosts”. There are other influences in this album, Dream Theater being a predominant one, and a riff in “Neon” reminds me of mid-era Green Carnation, while “Presentiments” takes on an acoustic-turns-hard-rock edge. Even the bass has been pumped, with some great sections like on opener “Neon”. Unfortunately, I take issue with the drumming on this album, which is firstly quite uninspired, and secondly badly produced, meaning it sounds quite synthetic. Fortunately, the other instruments make up for it, and I imagine they would sound more cohesive in a live environment.

Coming to the second-most prominent instrument in the album, Piubelli's vocal chambers get quite a work-out, despite the lyrics suffering slightly (as I'm told is a common problem for Italian bands). To give him his credit, he puts a lot of emotion into his singing, and there are some memorable passages like “You are the amputation, you are condemnation/incurable sickness, mortal disease” from “Nail In My Hand”, my second-favorite song and would be my favorite were it not for the awkwardly-inserted spoken word sections. As it is, “Ghosts” takes that award, due to a very catchy chorus and an impressive bass section in the second half of the song.

Aside from the aforementioned drumming issues, the only major critiques I have for this album are the slightly nonsensical lyrics and the repetition of “Can you feel the pain?” during “Neon”, which does not start the album off well. Also, none of the songs particularly grabbed my attention after multiple intensive listens, and so the album is one to dip into rather than a staple of a prog fanatic's diet. The black sheep of the album seems to be the simple piano-based ballad-interlude “Heavenland”, sung by Angela Merlin, which despite being relaxing and seguing nicely into “The Marble Column”, is still incredibly out of place.

To summarize, every song has its strong and weak parts, as is only natural when the song lengths are so stretched. But don't let the weaker parts put you off giving this release a try. Any fans of progressive metal will love the complex keyboard arrangements, the hard rock fans will love the guitar solos, and anyone with a love of melodic metal should at least listen to the (albeit edited) radio single posted below.

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Angel's rating: 3.75/5

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