Sunday, March 5, 2017

Persefone - Aathma (2017)

It is always fun to hear bands from some of the most random places of the Earth, places that you would think does not have any real metal bands at all. Persefone is from Andorra, a small European country that is about the same size as the Californian city of San Jose, squeezed in between France and Spain. It is not the ideal place for a band to emerge from, but some how, Persefone has not only established themselves as a band, but also as a tour de force that is taking the progressive melodic death metal to new heights.

"Aathma" is not too unlike its predecessor "Spiritual Migration", expressing the same feelings and themes, but the sound here still feels entirely new and refreshing, like they added some Cynic element to their already broad repertoire (probably because Paul Masvidal of Cynic guests on two songs, but it is showing in other songs too). It is an uplifting atmosphere that still has a lot of darkness and despair to it, like some energetic soundtrack to the apocalypse. These guys knows how to twist and turn their skills into captivating and emotional melodies, and still making them sound good.

I find "Aathma" not to be as catchy as the band's last album, and that it takes a lot more time to fully appreciate it, but the more you listen to "Aathma", the more everything fits into place, one piece at the time. This album is a complete creation that weaves its way through your ear drums with precise movements, taking no side step along the way. Every member helps making every song consistent, making it really hard to pin point a weakness anywhere. The symbiosis of Miguel Espinosa's clean and Marc Martins Pia's harsh vocals are spot on, the duo guitars by Carlos Lozano Quintanilla and Filipe Baldaia creates great stories, and Sergi Verdeguer's drum work are simply exquisite. Every part of the band performs with finesse, taking their time to make sure that everything comes out as they should.

What I like most about this band is that they have the awareness of knowing when to go heavy or when to go softer, creating a solid mix that makes Yin and Yang look uneven. It is a thin line to walk on, but Persefone does so with ease, blending the two different sides seamlessly into an album that is consistency materialized, where every song just builds the tension towards the four parted title track that takes it all to its edge. This 20 minute ending epic is an impressive piece of musicality that pushes the band to its limits, expressing all of their emotions into a bombastic finale that is the sure highlight of the album.

The consistency though is sort of a double edged sword though, because while I love the album as a whole piece, it is really hard to remember it all without mixing up some of the songs and parts with each other, making it immensely dense, more so than it really needs to be. The only really memorable parts of the album are the title track and the two songs in which Paul Masvidal appears on (especially the fantastic "Living Waves"), the rest is simply a part of one big entity. At the other hand though, this makes me wanna go back to the album more, to search for the magic again and experiencing it over and over again, which is a very satisfying feeling, even if the album clocks in at just over an hour.

I think that is the ultimate reason to why "Aathma" is such an fantastic album, its life span is seemingly endless, you could potentially listen to this album a hundred times without getting tired of it. And while it is far from a perfect record, it is still a clear evidence that Persefone is a force to be reckoned with in the future. So take your time, sit back, and just let the album run about five times or more, then it will reveal more and more of its blissful soul, like a blooming flower in the opening days of spring.

Songs worthy of recognition: Aathma (part I-IV), Living Waves, Stillness Is Timeless

Rating: 8,5/10 Prison Skins

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