When Persefone announces a new album there is really just one thing to do, get very excited. If it’s something the band have proven over again to do, it is being aware of every aspect of the end-product, where their technical death metal is lifted through a well-crafted production, and tweaked it with the wonders of mastering guru Jens Bogren.
They originate from Andorra, a tiny principality squeezed between its bigger brothers, Spain and France, and share its countrys metal scene with just a handful of other bands. Even though I love progressive death metal, I was a bit slow discovering this group who has existed since 2001, and it wasn’t until their last release Spiritual Migration from 2013 that I got a taste of their music, and loved what I heard.
Their latest album is their fifth, and as a big plus this time they have gotten co-founder of the legendary prog metal band Cynic, Paul Masvidal to contribute with his easily recognizable, heavily processed voice on the first and seventh song, Living Waves. For those unfamiliar with Cynic should check out both that bands discography, but also their bassist Sean Malones solo project Gordian Knot, who released two classics in the beginning of the 00’s, were Masvidal also plays guitar.
There’s really not much to critize on this album. Aathma is tweaked to perfection, and it has loads of different parts to enjoy, both among the calmer segments and the death metal. After the first song where Masvidal nearly whispers the album into existence, we continue into another short instrumental piece were the band show us what their good for with rhythmic parts that are weaved into each other. It’s first with Prison Skin that Aathma really gets going. It’s with pure enjoyment to follow the progressive melody lines belonging to the two guitarists, Carlos Lozano Quintanilla and last year addition to the band, Filipe Baldaia, and yes, their solos actually do “go over the top” at some occasions.
Around half of the thirteen tracks have a reasonable length of over five minutes, with atmospheric light-weights that loosen up the heavier metal. The band is quite good at including piano, like they do in the intro to Prison Skin, but also in the instrumental, spacey Cosmic Waves. To pick favourites on this album is a near impossible task, and for me it is the guitar parts that make this album, even though the rest of the musicians perform no lesser than the two guitarists.
The album ends with the title track, which is a massive song that lasts twenty minutes and is cut up in four parts. Even though the band can be perceived as midtempo most of the time, their death metal-elements are really hard, but at the same time have the typical Persefone-sound lurking in the background. In the last part, …Many of One, the band have two norwegian guest musicians, guitarist Øystein Landsverk from prog metal band Leprous, and vocalist Merethe Soltvedt, and is a calmer song that concludes this album in a good way.