Friday, April 04, 2014

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Review: Adeia - Hourglass (2013)

Artist: Adeia
Album: Hourglass
Year: 2013
Label: Layered Reality Productions

Review: Rodrigo 'Rroio' Carvalho

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Thoughts: Formed in the minds of Laura ten Voorde and Ruben van Kruistum, a violinist and a cellist with classical background and severe inclinations for mixing it with heavy metal, Adeia is the personification of the idea of creating something new, a dynamic and personal journey through boundless structures and combinations of progressive rock, classical music and extreme metal that sends shivers down your spine.

Together with Franc Timmerman (vocals), Wabe Wieringa (guitars), Christiaan Bruin (drums), Laurens Hoppe (synths) and Dennis Burgemeester (bass), their debut album Hourglass (2013) was recorded back in 2011, and despite the fact it was released independently on 2012, its physical format only saw the light of day last year, as Adeia were signed by Layered Reality Productions.

A frightening string and piano arrangement slowly carries you to some empty and hazy landscape as long as ‘Cordyceps’ starts its flow to halfway between classical influenced Progressive Metal and Jazzy-flavored death metal, based on abrupt rhythm changes that eventually remind us of Opeth. However, if Adeia seems to be influenced a little by the Stockholm prog death masters, it’s important to say how they achieve their own distinct identity on the quietly saturated prog metal scene, almost specially because the omnipresent van Kruistum cellos and ten Voorde violins that haunt the whole album, and a wise way to create memorable voice melodies even on complex structures.

'Providence', on the other hand, bring typically death metal riff maelstrom combined with some hard prog rock ideas, shifting between dense brutality and its frantic string lines with beautiful contemplative passages. Ok, we must admit: this song could fit on Blackwater Park (2001), for example. But hey, it’s not exactly something bad. Let’s call it “slight discomfort”, mainly for it’s a great song after all. Not only that, 'Hourglass' (the title track) presents the band truly working on their own way, on which the dynamic of their multi-layered sound is natural, flowing together at the same time it is experimental, intriguing and weirdly successful. It’s creepy, sometimes challenging and hard to be assimilated – this is actually where their singularity resides for real.


In a different point of view, 'Filling The Void' is a kind of ballad with extreme music intersections, floating quietly through the predominant acoustic and serene arrangements, although there are chaotic moments of nightmares that break violently what would sound like the noisy incarnations of Italian progressive rock and it’s seventies horror soundtrack geni. Speaking of the seventies, Inheritance is a fourteen minute ode to the greatest names of progressive rock in its roots. And push it forward, from doom and crawling grim interpretations to atmospheric and hypnotizing folk meditations, conducted by a unique theatrical signature. Not simply ends the album, but also leaves a strange feeling of waking up from a dream you can’t decide immediately if it was a good or a bad one. The only thing you know is that you didn’t understand it at all.

And as the discomfort of a confusing dreamy experience, Adeia builds an unexpected journey through a labyrinth of emotions and musical experiments, some kind of hybrid of its wide range of conflicting influences, tightly and beautifully connected by its unique ideas and personalities. Hourglass (2013) sounds so natural, and at the same time ghostly and scary, that even the excessively soft production doesn’t influence negatively on the whole experience (on metal parts, I mean – it seems to suffer from a lack of heaviness in certain moments – and obviously it’s not only the band’s fault and is something that could be worked easily on next records).

It’s interesting to notice how their dynamic way of thinking also makes easy to listen each of the five songs on the album and remember their mainly characteristics after a few times – something that many progressive metal bands are not so successful, specially on its debut albums. At the same time, the album holds you to try it again and find new elements and passages you didn’t notice before, like being swallowed by an everlasting shady and lugubrious repeating nightmare. Strangely intriguing and adorable.

If you’re into bands as such as Opeth, Novembers Doom, Pain Of Salvation, or maybe some amazingly frightful strings outbreaks on death metal, Adeia may be your next favorite band.

The band was included in our Podcast #34 and you can listen the song 'Filling The Void' HERE.

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