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Father Golem: I/O

The first album to come from Spain's Father Golem in some six years, I/O finds the band offering up a selection of prog metal which gallops along like Blaze Bayley (the band), while touching on Tool, Pantera, Dream Theater and even a little jazz. In this day of hybrids, crossovers and genre bending, that may not sound like a ridiculously exotic mix and in truth it isn't. For the main, this is strident, guitar fuelled metal, with an eye on melody, more than touch of bombast and some virtuoso playing that swerves the Father Golem sound towards prog.

Not as self indulgent as many of the more progressive acts that seem to appear on a daily basis, Father Golem do put the song first, although there's no denying that the temptation to dazzle with crazed solos and grandiose themes isn't denied as often as it could be. Not quite technical enough to call it math rock, there are times where the tribal beats and manic drum fills seem to career into a wall of keyboards and swathes of stinging guitar histrionics with blinding technicality. Although on almost all occasions there is just enough underlying melody to rein everything back into being structured songs and not art-rock-metal workouts.

Vocally Dani Castro has a strong, rumbling attack and if you like the storytelling nature of Blaze Bayley, then you'll love Castro, although the struggles with the high-end that BB has is also something the troubles this vocalist when he really stretches out. Personally I really like the effect his voice creates, but I can't pretend that it won't be a turn-off for some. The real strengths come from mighty guitar work from Jani Pihlman, who shreds with the best of them and Fernando Sanjuan who grounds everything with stellar rhythm work, with the manner in which the pair converse with Cheko's bass and keyboards work provides the foundation for the harder hitting sections and the platform from which Father Golem take off and reach for the progressive stars.

As expected, the likes of "The Evercycling Journey - Part II. Impact!", "Circle Of Light" and "Last Man On Earth" prove to be long, extended songs which are given every chance to evolve through slashing riffs, poignant acoustic refrains and dextrous flurries. All the while Jouni Pihlman offers up a variety of colours behind the kit, while Castro tells the tale of the impending doom of Earth through aggressive chants, gut wrenching wails and angelic song.

Not an album to approach lightly, I/O takes a serious amount of time to unravel, and while for the less extrovertly inclined, it may all prove numerous steps too far, more adventurous progressive metallers will eventually find much to engage with.

Track Listing
1. Perfect Chaos
2. Circle of Light
3. Sole Survivor
4. Last Man on Earth
5. Infrared
6. The Evercycling Journey Part I (Trapped Among Gravity Fields)
7. The Evercycling Journey Part II (Impact!)

Added: July 14th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Father Golem Online
Hits: 1880
Language: english

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