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Votum: Metafiction

Poland prog metalists Votum are back with their second release and have taken up residence next to Porcupine Tree, Riverside, Lava Engine and Spock's Beard in the world of heavy progressive music that are must have disc of recent release. It is hard to believe that these guys are not on the tip of the tongue of those who love this type of music. They have given us a magnificent disc filled with such musical dynamics it will take your breath away.

Melancholy and dark, this brooding disc reminds me of a rainy day. Combining metal with lush keyboards and powerful vocals set a mood that is gripping even though there is a touch of sadness to the overall feel of the album. As I sit here writing this with a very strong cappuccino next to me I find that this music is as warming and penetrating as the beverage I am sipping.

One of my favorites on the disc is the piano driven "indifferent". Like much of this album it is a sad song but has such depth and a complex mixture of gothic darkness with some definite jazzy influences it grabs you and holds on tight. Similar in style and feel, the album closer "December 20th" leans heavily on the jazzy side of their music and is another song that wraps around you and simply engulfs your being. Not often do you get the opportunity to feel the music as well as hear it. These guys sweep you up and do not let go until the last song is played.

With such a bountiful harvest that you will find on this album it is hard to find fault. If there is anything negative I can say about this disc, it would have to be that all the songs have the same mood to them and even this cannot really be a criticism. From what I gather they were trying to instill a certain feeling that is sadder and a bit downbeat. Using everything from full orchestration to a bit of growling Votum manages to capture this moodiness with their music to such a degree that you don't want it to stop, just keep going and going while you let the world pass by.

A case in point is the epic "stranger than fiction". It is a brooding masterpiece that will have you shutting off the lights and absorbing this drug as lead singer Maciej Kosinski's vocals envelopes you as he sings and gives a bit of a growl to this powerful and majestic work. His voice is at times a counterpoint to the music and sometimes it is the compliment much in the way James Labrie does his thing for Dream Theater. There is a haunting quality to his vocal style that is the perfect topping to this terrific album.

This one will be on the best of list for this year. As I am writing this we are in the midst of a gloomy weekend here in Michigan. No rain, just overcast and depressing. Votum has delivered the perfect soundtrack for what the gods have wrought upon us. So, as my wife steams the milk for a latte this time, I put on the headphones and head out to the deck to watch the storm front pass with my new friends Votum!

Track listing

1. falling dream
2. glassy essence
3. home
4. faces
5. stranger than fiction
6. indifferent
7. December 20th

Added: July 21st 2010
Reviewer: Scott Ward
Related Link: Band's Myspace Page
Hits: 2914
Language: english

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Votum: Metafiction
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-07-21 17:53:44
My Score:

Poland's Votum are back with their follow-up to 2008's Time Must Have a Stop, this one titled Metafiction. Once again, the band deliver melodic & moody progressive rock with a healthy dose of metal, a style that should easily appeal to fans of Katatonia, Opeth, Riverside, Porcupine Tree, Anathema, and OSI. Plenty of majestic keyboard swirls, crushing riffs, soaring vocals, and plodding rhythms abound on Metafiction, making for a dramatic and emotional piece of work that is highly enjoyable.

The 9-minute opener "Falling Dream" sets the tone for the rest of the CD, as this dark & somber piece features lovely piano & keyboard textures, heavy riffing, and the gorgeous vocals of Maciej Kosinski. Things crank up a bit for the pummeling "Glassy Essence", which despite its heavier arrangements remains quite melodic with that haunting undercurrent of keyboards. Tasty guitar lines, lush piano, and tender vocals permeate "Home", while "Faces" is a beautiful piano/vocal/guitar led ballad that again allows Kosinski, as well as keyboard player Zbigniew Szatkowski, to really shine.

The band launches into some serious progressive metal on the hard driving & symphonic "Stranger Than Fiction" (think a heavier Porcupine Tree or The Pineapple Thief), even throwing in some vocal growls along the way, and go back to melancholy pop for the dreamy "Indifferent". Votum close things out in fine Riverside-like fashion on the bubbly rocker "December 20th", another lengthy piece featuring some funky rhythms, catchy riffs, and moments of tranquil atmosphere.

It would be a real shame if the vast majority of prog-rock and prog-metal fans fail to get a chance to listen to Metafiction here in 2010, as it's definitely a keeper and an unexpected highlight as far as this year's releases go so far. Votum effectively create melodic music that straddles the fine line between prog and metal, and chances are if you enjoy band's that give you the best of both worlds, you'll find this much to your liking.

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