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Effloresce - Shades of Fate CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.02 | 7 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Shades Of Fate' - Effloresce (6/10)

As unfair as it is, metal bands with female vocalists have been getting a negative backlash over the past few years. The growing impression is that many of these bands will sacrifice instrumental integrity for a commercial focus, and artistic integrity for the perceived sex appeal of their womanly frontwomen. Making matters worse is the fact that with the majority of female-fronted metal bands I have come across, this appears to be painfully true. There will always be bands who are able to overcome this stereotype, but it will sadly take an extra edge for many female-fronteds to achieve widespread respect. In the case of German act Effloresce, that 'edge' happens to be the incorporation of prog into their metal sound. Although this combination has been done before, Effloresce deliver an impressive execution, and even demonstrate some exciting potential, although at this point, their influences never tread far behind them.

Being a progressive metal band, it's virtually taken for granted nowadays that Dream Theater would have some measure of influence on them. To my surprise, the technical indulgences are kept in moderation here; Effloresce will instead let the instrumentation prosper within the confines of their songwriting. Although Effloresce won't blow someone away who has heard a talented prog metal band play before, they are very proficient with their instruments, and the sound is given a very professional coat of production. The drumwork throughout 'Shades Of Fate' is particularly impressive, with a tight grasp of the double-kick adding some heaviness to the generally melodic approach of the band. For their compositions, Effloresce was ambitious to open their career with three ten-minute pieces, but it works well for them. Each of these tracks scales through a number of ideas, focusing on some larger themes in order to create a sense of structure to the pieces. I found the times when Effloresce broke from the 'typical' sound to be the most exciting to listen to, whether it was a dark acoustic interlude, or passage of instrumental intensity.

Although Effloresce skirt away from the typical Dream Theater worship, their allegiances lie with another god. Opeth is without a doubt, the most noticeable influence that Effloresce bring into their sound. The second track 'Sear' best demonstrates this; a constant shift between jazzy acoustic chords and powerful metal riffs. Even the solos can sound like the guitarists in Effloresce are trying to emulate Mikael Akerfeldt and his style of playing. It certainly wasn't as evident in the first track, but by the end of 'Shades Of Fate', I am left feeling disappointed by the band. Although they have plenty of skill as musicians, they come across as being copycats. Ironically, my one apprehension I had before listening to Effloresce turned out to be the one thing that gave them a bit of a different sound. That, of course, was their use of the female voice, which I haven't had a great experience with in metal. Nicki's voice is strong, but typical of the 'metal diva' archetype I have come to expect from this sort of band. Having her operatic style (and occasional growls!) brushed up against Opeth's instrumentation works quite well, although it's not enough to set 'Shades of Fate' apart as the work of a unique band. Effloresce are acute sufferers of the copycat syndrome overall, but their talent leaves the possibility of success wide open.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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