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Distorted Harmony - Utopia CD (album) cover

UTOPIA

Distorted Harmony

 

Progressive Metal

3.98 | 200 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Distorted Harmony's "Utopia"is a prog metal band from Tel Aviv, Israel with Misha Soukhinin on vocals, Guy Landau plays guitars, Yoav Efron on keyboards, Iggy Cohen plays bass and Yogev Gabay is on drums. The songs have a distinct metal edge with distorted riffing guitars but there is also a relaxed vocal style, in English and without growling, but more of a reflective approach. It blazes on the opener 'Kono Yume', right from the outset with distortion firing and a melodic keyboard line. The choruses are memorable and I have to mention the structure that is reminiscent of prog metal such as Dream Theater or Threshold with lengthy passage of extended keyboard and guitar soloing trade offs. The percussion of Gabay is at times played at a frenetic double kick breakneck speed. I like how it develops with a mellotron and piano generating a serene scape at the end.

'Breathe' opens acoustically, a beautiful sound and is joined by Efron's wafting gentle keyboards. There is a tricky time sig with an outburst of metal and then a lilting piano motif, with Soukhinin's soft vocals reminding me of Muse. This melody really grew on me after many listens, especially the line "inside the shame there's a world coming back for me, a world coming back." There is a beauty enmeshed in the melody and singing but also it features some aggressive guitar riffs when the tempo speeds up. The sig changes many times and then Landau's lead guitar screams over the incessant riff, joined by keyboard wizardry. Again the Dream Theater influence is evident, and the musicianship is exceptional. The mellotron and flute synth is wonderful.

'Obsession' is a 9 minute prog blitz opening with droning low synths and then a chunky metal riff crashes through on an odd meter. Relaxing vocals follow a dreamy melody, leading to the raucous chorus where metal distortion dominates. Some of the language is more explicit and the lyrics reflect angst and the anger of not being able to cope as things become too much; the vocals even get more aggressive deep in to the song. The instrumental break is a cauldron of angular guitar riffing, fast keyboard runs, and a relentless bass and drum rhythm. Easily one of the highlights musically, with prog time sig changes and complexity.

'Blue' starts as a piano melody, intense vocals, and locks into a steady rhythm. It features an extended keyboard solo and overall is melodic with some explosive riffing merging with violin string orchestrations. The ending is played at a frantic pace, with dynamic lead guitar fret melting playing, screaming over the vocals that rejoin.

'Unfair' is blessed with guest musician Daniel Markovich's soaring saxophone playing. After the sax intro a distorted jagged riff cranks up. The rhythms are fractured with some remarkable time sigs, and the feel is like Dream Theater. The storm of distortion and fast playing is extraordinary, joined by polyphonic keyboard runs and an everpresent bass pulse. One of the highlights of the album with outstanding virtuoso musicianship.

'Utopia' is the longest track at 12:30, opening with urgent synth lines and a melodic vocal performance; "I walk on roads as red as blood, with bricks of greed and hate, while men are going wrong and right, making their own fate." The metal riff becomes fragmented, and after a while an instrumental break stops the metal in its tracks. We hear an acoustic resonance, and some profound narratives about war and making weapons, "is this our utopia?" The tensions are subtle, releasing various musicians to take over and then holding back enough to let the music breathe. It is never overblown or pretentious due to the sincerity of blending metal riffs with swathes of keyboard finesse. The choppy metal begins to get more powerful and keyboard swells chime in. The lead break is incredible, sliding and swooping guitars pouncing upon plunging keyboard sweeps, creating a sense of intense abandonment in this utopian wasteland. The gorgeous mellotron strings generate the melancholy atmosphere, and are juxtaposed with more broken metal rhythms. It is one of the most dynamic tracks from Distorted Harmony.

The album is a great blend of metal and ambiance, with guitar riffing and the splendour of keyboard swathes. I could recommend "Utopia" to those who like their prog metal served up with melodic singing and a plethora of keyboard solos. Check out Distorted Harmony and discover some excellent modern prog metal; dominant lyrics, clear passionate vocals, melodic choruses and outbreaks of blazing metal riffing guitars.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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