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Effloresce: Coma Ghosts

Although the German progressive metal scene has plenty of established veterans like Sieges Even, Vanden Plas, and Mekong Delta, the country hasn't had too many young voices to carry the torch in recent years. Judging by their killer debut album, Effloresce may very well be the next big progressive metal export from Germany - Coma Ghosts shows a band with a very firm grasp on how to deliver amazing prog metal while still pushing the boundaries of the genre, and the fact that this level of maturity is obtained on a debut album is admirable. In short, Coma Ghosts is a professional, memorable, and original observation that should be satisfying metal fans well into 2012 and beyond!

Opeth, particularly on albums like Blackwater Park and Watershed, is clearly a large influence to Effloresce. While their sound is not entirely dependent on these Swedish veterans, the mix of 70's progressive rock, melodic death metal, and folk found throughout much of Coma Ghosts makes the reference almost inevitable. Effloresce makes their main distinction from Opeth by keeping the death metal influences to a minimum, and instead including more traditional-sounding progressive metal sections as well as an occasional gothic atmosphere. Female vocalist Nicki Weber also helps give Effloresce a voice of their own, and her powerful clean pipes and occasional black metal-styled rasps are an integral part of the band's style. Although I tend to think that her harsh vocals could've been integrated into the music a bit more convincingly and delivered with more power, it's a rather minor flaw in the long run since the majority of the vocals here are excellent clean singing.

While the Opeth comparison is rather invalid throughout much of the album (songs like "Crib" bear little resemblance to the Swedes), a song like "Swimming Through Deserts" could very well be the creation of Mikael Akerfeldt with the addition of a beautiful soprano vocalist. The 70's-styled progressive rock with a jazzy, folky, and slightly twisted edge will strike a chord with many prog metal listeners, and Effloresce delivers this style just as convincingly as they do when it comes to pummeling metal riffs. Coma Ghosts is one of those rare cases where, even though I'm able to identify plenty of obvious influences in the music, the style is still wholly original. The strength of the composition and execution is what makes Coma Ghosts a truly worthwhile experience, however, and in addition to crafting exceptionally well-written pieces of music, the musicianship is exceptional across the board. Although Effloresce may be relatively new to the scene, their craft as musicians is never questioned on this album.

As an additional bonus, Coma Ghosts was mixed and mastered by Swedish metal legend Dan Swanö of Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, and Bloodbath fame, so you can expect an absolutely killer sound to top things off. Though the relatively unimpressive harsh vocals and occasionally overtly Opethian influence may keep many listeners from calling this a masterpiece, there are still more than enough assets to make this a remarkable album. Effloresce have gotten off on the right foot with this excellent debut offering, and I'll be ecstatic to hear what they have up their sleeves in the coming years. When December rolls around, I have a feeling this will be praised not only as one of the year's most impressive debuts, but also as one of 2012's best progressive metal records - it really is that good! My rating here will be 4 big stars, as well as an easy recommendation to fans of the more organic and melancholic side of prog metal. This is a must-hear if you're into progressive metal that rarely relies on the 'traditional' sound pioneered by the likes of Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Queensryche.

Track Listing:
1. Crib (8:12)
2. Spectre Pt. 1: Zorya´s Dawn (10:34)
3. Pavement Canvas (8:58)
4. Undercoat (2:54)
5. Swimming through deserts (7:11)
6. Shuteye Wanderer (16:31)

Added: May 15th 2012
Reviewer: Jeff B
Related Link: Effloresce Website
Hits: 3599
Language: english

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Effloresce: Coma Ghosts
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-05-15 12:06:10
My Score:

To be honest, I was pretty unsure of what to expect with the debut from Germany's Effloresce. Usually within the progressive & power metal genres, you see a female vocalist and you can be pretty sure what the end result is going to be. Coma Ghosts thankfully avoids the path led by Nightwish, Epica, and the like, not that there's anything wrong with these types of bands, but a metal act with a female front and something new to say is a welcome change. Effloresce do just that, opting not to go the route of the gothic/symphonic style nor the extreme technicality of Dream Theater and those types of acts. Instead, singer Nicki Weber injects her lovely vocals over enjoyable arrangements that merge Opeth styled guitar passages with the occasional classic Deep Purple/Rainbow influenced keyboard textures. In spots Weber throws in some growls that remind of Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy, and while they are decently executed they sound a little forced and put there for dramatic effect more than anything else. Perhaps the band wanted to stay away from the Simons/Jansen formula of the clean female/growling male vocal attack that Epica have perfected, but I'm wondering in this case if it might have worked out better.

A tune like the epic "Spectre Pt. 1: Zorya's Dawn" is a great track, complete with atmosphere, thunderous riffing, and gorgeous vocals from Weber to go along with some nice flute work as well. The brief seconds of growling seems more thrown in at the last minute and you have to wonder if they were necessary. "Crib" features catchy riffs, tasty solos, and some seriously memorable melodies, showing that this band certainly know how to write hooks that will connect with the listener. Layers of crushing guitar riffs, nimble drum work, and soaring vocals permeate "Pavement Canvas", while lush acoustic guitars and soothing vocals make up the majority of the lovely "Swimming Through Deserts". The band goes for the juggular on the menacing "Shuteye Wanderer", a 16-minute prog-metal monster that contains plenty of complex arrangements filled with lethal guitar riffs, intricate drum fills, keyboards, flute, and stunning vocals.

Coma Ghosts gets better with each listen, and you can just imagine that the future of this band should indeed be very bright. Mixed and mastered by the legendary Dan Swano, Coma Ghosts is an excellent sounding album. The CD comes with a lovely booklet filled with artwork, photos,and lyrics, making for an all around wonderful package.

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