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28 January, 2016

Sekten7 - Skyfall

Sekten7 - Skyfall (song review) |self-released, 2015| 4/5 industrial metal

Industrial metal band Sekten7 - as well as New Breed Invasion - are projects established by Brazilian musician Daniel who wishes to remain partially anonymous. He releases these and other, more ambient-orientated songs through his own Tribeleader Music label. His new song entitled 'Skyfall' conjures forth a dark, distorted guitar-driven atmosphere with lots of gravity.

'Skyfall' does not have a specific intro since said chunky guitar riffs along with a less deeper drum beat open the track without delay. Vocals are altered through the use of effects and the resulting slightly demonic tuning perfectly matches the overall hellish atmosphere. You'll also hear a quick roar of a Jericho-like trumpet that could illustrate the sky opening and the angel's fall. A captivating, angelic voice appears in the background soon after – akin to that of a mermaid from Greek myths, tempting a lost soul to approach closer and stay forever. Such a soothing add-on instantly dissipates the heaviness with light and beauty, while guitars and drums continue dictating a moderately fast tempo until the end of the song.

Interestingly, there's a love theme within this serious, down-tuned song. A demonic narrator speaks of finding the perfect soul mate ("She is just like an angel / That fell from the sky") who makes him feel one with the girl and the entire Universe ("You look in her eyes you see the light / You follow the light into the stars / Into the sky / Into eternity"). He then marries her to live together, forever. Ancient history knows such love stories - Plato wrote about the perfect soul split in two, remained entangled and longed to become one again. Though as romantic as it sounds, persisting on the path towards a reunion becomes a challenge here. The reality proves that even if meeting such a perfect mate is very likely, the ego often sabotages the needs of both heart and soul. The brain makes people run from fear of inexplicable things and the overall spiritual transformation such a love companion triggers.

The key instrumental parts of 'Skyfall' repeat very often, but since they are enriched with various effects (ie. stretched to depict a flight into the stars), they do not become boring. However, since the lyrics speak of a life-changing event, a careful listener could be forgiven for expecting a more pronounced development in the composition as well. If such a phenomenon becomes a breakthrough in the narrator's life, arrangements could have been equally altered to illustrate a distinct division between the 'before' and the 'after'. The difference here sounds very subtle though. Nevertheless, it's still a solid, dynamic track, letting the listener dive into a sea of guitar-driven noisiness without having to pay much attention to less important details.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, January 20th, 2016. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

17 January, 2016

Unified Past - Peace Remains In This World

Unified Past - Peace Remains In This World (song review) |Melodic Revolution Records, Shifting the Equilibrium, 2015| 5/5 progressive rock

Progressive rock turned out to be a fertile ground that has been developing successfully for the last 40 years. While older listeners started their sonic journey from lengthy and serious compositions by ELP, Genesis, King Crimson or Pink Floyd in the 70s, and their successors danced to the 80s music by Yes, Jadis, Rush, Marillion or Asia, fans of the genre nowadays enjoy an amazing spectrum of new bands to choose from, not just traditionally coming from UK or USA, but virtually every corner of the world. Moreover, a significant subgenre of 'prog' - progressive metal - revitalized the metal scene. However, writing such music demands a lot from musicians - they simply must be really pro(g? ;-)) about composing, performing, collaborating (which usually includes a lot of improvising, writing/reading musical notation, studying music theory etc.) because time signature is what progressive rock loves. If the time signature is put in a wrong spot, the joy of listening is pretty much over, unless you prefer to enjoy experimental sounds.

Based in New York, Unified Past has been continuously taking the progressive rock scene by storm since 1999, and accelerating their ascent every year. The 'Peace Remains In This World' single comes from their newest, 7th album titled Shifting the Equilibrium (2015). A chance listener doesn't have to be a die-hard fan of prog to feel the track's vibe resonating within their body, since the song has loads of unquestionable depth, juiciness and spirit.

The songs' intro sounds typical for the genre thanks to the cold virtuosity of Stephen Speelman's keyboard work, but what follows are heavier, modern guitars and a spacious drum sound. When the bass shifts to down-tuned notes, the keyboards continue their lively leitmotif. Dave Mickelson uses the lowest notes on the bass at times, literally dragging the balance 'down', especially when compared to keyboards and vocals (which, in turn, stretch the composition 'upwards').

The chorus brings an excitedly-sounding keyboard arrangement, making your ear focus on that instrument, though it does take a second row seat in favour of vocals and bass at perfectly chosen moments. Victor Tassone provides masterful drumming, produced to stay in the middle of other instruments, providing the composition with a solid backbone. All arrangements repeat and yet remain spirited until the very end of the track.

Phil Naro's voice is quite high (but not as high as that of Jon Anderson's of Yes fame) and sounds very upbeat, both attributes making it characteristic. Interestingly, the top vocal part makes for a separate melodic line at times, and is perfectly supported by the instrumental melody in the background.

Overall, the composition (spanning seven minutes) is open and includes many matching variations - imagine spirals spinning inside spirals. It sounds as if all instruments were biting the composition from every possible direction - at times simultaneously, then letting only one of them feed. This means that every musician got enough of space to showcase his skills. Therefore, peace and balance kept far from boredom remain present throughout the entire track and engage your attention along with dynamical, intersecting instrumentation. The arrangements oscillate between cold and warm vibes, and the tempo and time signature change pretty often. Such contrasts along with memorable melodies are always a turn-on for any sensitive ear and stimulate brain waves a lot, too.

Finally, the song's subject is a peaceful reminder about keeping serenity in the world through refreshing the values that once used to matter, such as authentic spirituality ("Time to go inside") and kindness. Making peace and not war or money is humanity's goal - our lives are very short when perceived through a broader, time-related perspective. Therefore, it's pointless to waste all that precious time on provoking one another, leading to easily predictable results.

Thanks to such a mindful theme and non-aggressive (yet lively) music, many listeners will certainly get hooked on 'Peace Remains In This World'. Undoubtedly, the song sounds huge when performed live on the stage, so make sure you buy a ticket (and the album too) when you learn that Unified Past goes on tour.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, January 15th, 2016. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine