The last few weeks here at Eurorock has been very much like the old saying “so many albums, yet so little time.” So let me try and put that right starting today with a series of reviews from across Europe ending with a special visit to Sweden later in the week to catch up on what is going on there.
Today our trip takes from Portugal through Switzerland and Germany, before dropping down to Italy. It ranges from progressive metal, through symphonic prog, and on into the beautifully crafted world of Elisa Lua’s electronica. It is just what you expect from such a journey: eclectic, dramatic, fascinating and most of all eye opening.
AtmOsfear – Zenith (ProgRock Records)
First stop on the Eurorock tour is Germany to review the latest release from the five piece progressive metal band AtmOsfear. Formed in 1996 Zenith is their third studio album. This is a band that has already supported the likes of Pain Of Salvation, Evergrey, and Vanden Plas and is steadily building up a large following in the process.
AtmOsfear’s sound continues to evolve with Zenith but their trademark scorching guitar breaks, progressive keys, built upon their familiar solid rhythm section, are all still very much in evidence.
The band is perfectly named as they are able to create dark brooding atmospherics within seconds of the opening track “Beginning.” Moving seamlessly into the near eight minute “Loss Of Hope” you are plunged deeper into the dark world of AtmOsfear.
With melodic hooks, powerfully driving riffs and clear vocals Zenith hits just about every progressive metal target. There are several hugely ambitious epics on the album to really lose yourself within.
Firstly, there is the switching drama created within “Generation” (12.10). Then “Scum Of Society” (12.58) takes many an unexpected twist before handing over to the four-part “Spiral Of Pain” which clocks in at a massive 23 minutes.
Almost hidden away is “Reawakening” which is, for me, another highlight and underlines the level of quality that this band consistently delivers.
Having said that they keep the best for last and the massive “Spiral Of Pain” confirms that this is top drawer progressive metal from one of Germany’s best.
Catch up by calling in on the bands website.
Elisa Luu – Chromatic Sigh (Hidden Shoal Recordings)
Chromatic Sigh is the highly impressive debut album from Rome based composer Elisa Luu. During this mesmerizing CD she takes us by the hand and gently introduces us into the richly kaleidoscopic labyrinth of musical atmospheres and textures that she somehow creates.
Her music moves through a sometimes brittle, often intensely refreshing landscape of sounds that activate sweeping and powerful images. This is to music what those wonderful Roger Dean designs were to 70s prog rock covers successfully opening doors in the imagination that had so far remained boringly shut.
The opening title track sparkles and shines whilst “Pixie Space Rock” transports us off into the misty distance of some undiscovered land. “Arteline” is delicately poised in between fragility and confident elegance. Elisa has the ability to continually lure you, like a siren, to the rocks by introducing recurring melody whilst pushing back the boundaries of exploration.
“Slow Bass Flute” sits aloft with its hazy melancholy dreamily creating an almost spiritual emotion. Her single “The Garden” is deceptively complex as she takes us ever deeper into the maze. By the time the last track “Warn Plate” arrives you awake refreshed and ready to return again.
This is a talent well worth keeping your ears and mind open for. Please have a look at her MySpace page where you can listen to her work.