30.06.2014

Album Review | DISTORTED HARMONY - Chain Reaction (English)

Release: 9th July 2014
Genre: Progressive Metal

Israel isn't really the biggest Heavy Metal market, this fact yet doesn't disencourage progressive metallers DISTORTED HARMONY from doing their thing (why should it?). Without any record or public relation companies they managed to finish their second full lenght effort and to tell the world about it. The record is going to be available worldwide (!) from the 9. July and there is also a single you can listen to in advance called "Hollow".

It isn't something out of the world for a band to not play only metal in year 2014. And that is a good thing. DISTORTED HARMONY is such a band. As already mentioned in my previous review, you can hear all sorts of influences, be it modern jazz, fusion, neoclassicism or prog rock in the style of Yes.
"Chain Reaction", however, features a few differences compared to the debut. Actually, I liked the enhanced classic elements that "Utopia" had so I actually think it's too bad they were replaced by modernity.
While some songs from "Utopia" sound heavilly like Dream Theater, the Israeli seem to approach their own sound on the new record and this style goes more into the modern direction. The song lenght is shrunk from twelve minutes on the same-named song from "Utopia" to eight minutes on "Misguided" from "Chain Reaction" which makes the whole record instantly way more catchy. But this is not the only reason why the album convinces after only one pass (which is pretty fast for me and the genre): Conditioned by the jazz and fusion borrowing the whole oeuvre sounds open uniformly and the tension never gets lost. The vocals are very enjoyable and pretty catchy during some choruses, although I hear that they could be even better. The soft head voice does has its delights, but I'm thinking of singers like Tommy Karevik who are really belting out those high notes. I can imagine that this kind of singing could also work with DISTORTED HARMONY.
Certainly, it would be boring if that was it. It is not for nothing that DISTORTED HARMONY chose this band name, because they do play heavily and that's basically the essence of metal since 40 years. The riffs are once dark, then playful, and although they are progressive, they are not something completely absurd, but still at the right level challenging so that album satifsfies in the long run.
But "Chain Reaction" doesn't sound like it's all about many heavy and fast riffs but the harmony between all the styles the musicians are using in their music. And this can go wrong very easily, needless to say, you need a lot of musical know-how to understand the complexity of the melodies. What this young band does is really praiseworthy, because it doesn't just understand the music. Metal and all the other influences are in harmony with each other while there are slower and faster songs. I find it really noticeable that the quality of a song isn't dependent on the fact that it's harder or balladic. The acoustic ballad "As You Go", for example, turned out wonderful and not just so-so like ballads of bands who can just shred and nothing else often do.
The production succeeded really well and even better considering it's a self-produced album.

All these strenghts should catapult DISTORTED HARMONY upwards into the metal scene. It's a young and original band which will manage to confidentely appeal to a wide audience while still staying progressive and challenging for your ears. I can imagine many songs from "Chain Reaction" to work as divine live tracks which would be once great sing-alongs and then stuff you can headbang to in the next moment. That's how prog should sound like in 2014, modern but still classic, and behind the music should be a band which isn't afraid to do what it wants to. Despite the fact that nearly everything has been done well, I still hear a lot of potential and that the band can go higher and become even better.
My highlights of the album are the single "Hollow", which I'm listening to in a continuous loop since days now, and the slightly heavier "Natural Selection", sophisticated and catchy at the same time - an almost infallible mix for me.
If any prog lover is reading here, then he should pre-order this album. If I, a conceited, always for mistakes searching sadist, thinks that this is good, then the band will certainly have done at least something right.

Rating: 9/10

Pre-order "Chain Reaction": Amazon | Web Shop

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