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Stormy Atmosphere: Color Blind

Most progressive bands who hail from the Middle East hope to present the musical heritage of their homelands while bringing a Western edge to their attack - making it accessible and appealing to both their home fan-base and progressive supporters the world over. Israel's Stormy Atmosphere on the other hand are far happier using a more straight ahead approach, sitting in the prog-metal middle ground, rather than the musical Middle East. In fairness they do it well, but whether that is enough to make them stand out from the crowd, well that's not yet quite so certain. That in itself neither makes Stormy Atmosphere a band to dismiss, nor their debut album Color Blind one to forget. Originally self released in 2009, Russian labels Mals have picked this album up to hopefully give it a wider audience and if you like your Vanden Plas served with a strong helping of power metal and a bright symphonic twist, then they are most definitely right to do so.

Guitarist Artoim Lichtstein shines brightest on an album where all of the musicians prove their worth, whether it be through his strident riffs, or especially through his poised acoustic strumming and picking. Less "ethnic" than the likes of Orphaned Land, that doesn't mean that Color Blind is one dimensional, with violin and flutes tastefully added on occasion, or classical guitar gracing "The EarthWorker". However where Stormy Atmosphere touch on unbridled success, while flirting with disastrous failure, is in their vocal arrangements and delivery. The joining of the soaring operatic tones of Dina Shulman and Teddy Shvets at times proves spellbindingly captivating, while at others there's a distinct danger of everything coming crashing down under its own ambitious weight. It is commendable to hear the pair push the boundaries so far on their debut effort, but I have to be honest and say that while their efforts on the brooding march of "Bridge" have you holding your breath to see where the duo will take you next, "...Chance" has you gripping the edge of your seat desperately hoping you (and they) don't come flying off the rollercoaster they've taken you on. As with nearly all bands operating in this genre these days, the musicianship is nothing short of stunning, with time signatures and tempo changes being cast aside at will, while keyboards, guitar, bass and drums jostle relentlessly for supremacy. Although that isn't always quite enough to keep you riveted, when the songs ever so slightly suffer in favour of technical flash

Considering this album is already three years old, Color Blind stands up remarkably well, being a better effort than countless standard symphonically inclined prog metal releases - leaving you wondering what the band are creating now. Hopefully Stormy Atmosphere will serve up a second helping soon, so we can all find out.

Track Listing
1. Awaken
2. The Earth Worker
3. Circle
4. Bridge
5. Fifth Season
6. Conspiracy I - Unexpected
7. Conspiracy II - Unexpected Still
8. Hand Colored
9. Last...
10. ...Chance

Added: December 7th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Stormy Atmosphere on MySpace
Hits: 2147
Language: english

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