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Materium: In The Materium

That Prog Metal receives airplay anywhere in the world is unusual, so kudos goes to Materium who have managed to get their sounds on radio in both Mexico and Argentina. It is an obvious indication this band have something about them worth hearing.

Progressive Metal is an ever widening genre and whether Materium fit into the Dream Theater mould is questionable. That they are a heavy band with a commercial streak employing Progressive themes, is not. Oddly, imagine Riverside jamming with Alice In Chains and you won't be far away from what debut album In The Materium conjures up; layers of vocals soothing over clever and memorable guitar lines, intricate beats and chunky riffs. The results are too Grungey to be out and out Prog, yet too commercial to be Grunge and too Proggy to be commercial and if there's an issue here, it is the conundrum of who will this appeal to strongly enough to make them want to commit to it? However live with this set of songs for a time and there's no doubt there is charm and skill in what you'll get to know.

The band is led by guitarist Frank D'Angelo, known for his other outfit Oxygene8. The tasteful rather than over exuberant fret caresser aided ably by vocalist/bassist Stephen Santana, keyboardist Francisco Cortina and drummer George Miller - although the latter has now been succeeded by James Galding. Santana's contributions are worth taking note of, with his unusually for this genre, boisterous attack genuinely giving Materium something different to play with and one of the main reasons for the Grunge associations to play true. He's a great singer as likely to bring aggression and bite to songs like "Prevail Or Fall", or "Man Of Tomorrow", as he is a commercialism and an almost 80s pop sheen to "Out There Somewhere" or "Moon Over Li Jiang". In the end it is the manner in which he makes "I'm Not Your Enemy" into a fixture in the mind that really shows him at his best.

If a band follows well trodden paths they are criticised for a lack of originality. However if they blend styles and approaches, they are unfocused. So basically they can't win. Materium fall into the latter category and while I can't hand on heart tell you that what they've cooked up here always tastes like a gourmet feast, they have to be applauded for trying and succeeding in serving something reasonably individual and different. Hopefully album number two will take these themes and hone them into something slightly more forceful and confident.

Track Listing
1. In The Materium
2. Zombie Bath Salts
3. Man Of Tomorrow
4. Moon Over Li Jiang
5. I'm Not Your Enemy
6. Nobody Thinks Of You (Anymore)
7. Prevail Or Fall
8. It Could Be Doomsday
9. Out There Somewhere

Added: January 18th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Materium on Facebook
Hits: 1937
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Materium: In The Materium
Posted by Harold Ochstein on 2014-08-20 06:47:47
My Score:

I believe the Keyboard player is Peter Carbonaro

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