EMBRACE OF DISHARMONY – Humananke
In existence since 2006, this Italian progressive metal quartet has been honing in their sound for quite a few years. Probably a smart ideal if you want to make an impression on a cynical scene, especially in a realm that has very few leaders/ originators and a lot of copycats. "Humananke" is their debut album, and as such this is a 9 track, 57 minute odyssey into the lands of variant experimental extreme metal, orchestration, and straight forward progressive metal – in other words, prepare your brain and body for something quite out of the ordinary.
Embrace of Disharmony waste no time getting to the heart of their aural outlook on the 10:50 opener "Shards of Apocalypse". A slow, symphonic beginning gives way to Symphony X like power riffs, keyboard parts that can work in unison with the guitars one moment and then be dark and hypnotic the next – along with a dual male extreme vocal versus female operatic nature. Bassist Leonardo Barcaroli gets a chance to throw down some jazzy bass licks while the mid-section offers a brief Moody Blues-ish reprieve before the exotic / symphonic ending pulls it all together. At other times you’ll hear shredding guitar give way to Arcturus meets Therion parts on "The Eternal Champion" (love the semi-blast beats against tribal doom from Emiliano Cantiano) or "The Edge of Nowhere" that features some sizzling bass work from guest Mike Lepond and vocals from Orphaned Land’s Kobi Farhi on an arrangement that is exhilarating in terms of verse energy as it is avant-garde in terms of keyboards, Middle Eastern chord choices, and snake charming melodies.
Where a lot of these acts can lose my interest is they get too entangled in being different without honing in on a particular framework for their songs – Embrace of Disharmony embody an all for one outlook, not being overly technical but instead letting their progressiveness build out of particular set of riffs and emotions. Check out "Dirge on a Soul Staring at the Stars" from some fascinating atmospheric to progressive intertwining, dramatic one moment and very Adagio oriented the next.
Those of you who miss a lot of the older Therion and Opeth work with a touch of symphonic darkness and Symphony X/ Adagio neo-classical passages will find plenty to champion on "Humananke". Be sure to give it a good 10 listens as this is amazing material.