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Altesia: Paragon Circus's always great when a new band releases their debut album and completely knocks it out of the park in such convincing fashion that your first instinct is to declare them 'stars in the making'. That's pretty much where I'm at with Paragon Circus, the spectacular debut from French progressive metal act Altesia, who are comprised of Clément Darrieu (Lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Yann Ménage (Drums), Alexis Casanova (Lead guitar, backing vocals), Henri Bordillon (Keyboards), and Hugo Bernart (Bass), though Antoine Pirog played bass on the album. Taking possible influences from Dream Theater, Opeth, Haken, Pain of Salvation, Fates Warning, Porcupine Tree, and Between the Buried & Me, Altesia have crafted a confident, powerful, and highly listenable platter of sophisticated, heavy, and very proggy sounds on Paragon Circus, an album that contains just six tracks but three of those exceed 10-minutes in length.

Though lengthy songs do not always a successful album make, Altesia understand the art of packing plenty of meat within a tune, each one of these packed with mind-boggling instrumental virtuosity and memorable melodies and vocal passages. "Reminiscence" is dark, dramatic, and heavy, layers of vintage sounding keyboards colliding with crushing riffage and haunting vocals, solo spots darting in and out of the arrangement (even a GREAT sax solo!) but never becoming the full calling card, while the artful melancholy of "Amidst the Smoke" brings to mind such various acts like Alice in Chains, Leprous, Dream Theater, Yes, Opeth, and Steven Wilson, gorgeous vocal layers floating over lilting guitar licks and intricate rhythms...beautiful stuff. "The Prison Child" cranks up the Opeth styled heaviness, the riffs inventive and with mean intent, the vocals absolutely's as if you've discovered a lost track from Akerfeldt & Co.'s recent studio sessions. Lush prog-rock meets bombastic near-extreme metal on "Hex Reverse" and the almost 18-minute closing number "Cassandra's Prophecy' features a never ending supply of intoxicating sounds, complex, heavy hitting prog battling symphonic rock and more pastoral settings, guitar solos blazing, the riffs crushing, and the bass & drums dazzling. Much like how the gentle "Pandora" opens up the album in tranquil fashion, this mammoth piece that brings Paragon Circus to its conclusion will leave you breathless.

Altesia have completely knocked it out of the park here on Paragon Circus, a potent and mature offering from this new band who have a bright future ahead of them. Though they are currently unsigned (InsideOut, Frontiers, Metal Blade, Napalm, Nuclear Blast, AFM, etc....are you listening?) I can't imagine that lasting too long once the world gets a load of the greatness contained on this tremendous debut. Do not miss this one folks!

Track Listing
1 Pandora2:35
2 Reminiscence11:41
3 Amidst the Smoke7:48
4 The Prison Child10:34
5 Hex Reverse6:30
6 Cassandra's Prophecy17:38

Added: February 16th 2020
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1631
Language: english

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