Posted by Nick Skog on Friday, September 18, 2020 Under: English
From: The Progressive Subway
Published: September 12, 2020
August 28th was a special day for prog metal. There were at least 10 prog metal (related) artists who brought out a new full length that day, and (almost) all of them seemed worthwhile to check out (see this overview I made). One of those new records was Echoes by a young band called Wills Dissolve. A single 31 minute song with strong similarities to Opeth? I’ve gotta hear that. Extreme progressive metal (as I like to call it) is easily one of my favorite genres of music, so I’m always eager to hear more. It’s a very difficult genre to pull off since there are a lot of very different elements you need to do well, but the potential upside is ridiculous. At least two of my top 10 all time albums are from the genre. How do Wills Dissolve live up to these impossible standards?
Echoes is a very impressive album/song. The fact that they managed to keep it completely cohesive is already a feat in itself. The themes are frequently repeated and expanded and/or varied upon. Not to say they are masters of reprises, but it’s more than enough to make the track work. Now being cohesive is one thing, but a band needs good ideas too to make the song work. Luckily Wills Dissolve have plenty of these.
As expected given the genre, the song weaves between softer melodic parts and harsh death metal ones. As a fan of melodic things first and foremost, I will of course discuss the softer parts for. Safe to say I was touched many a times. There is a strong Ghost Reveries feeling in the chord progression and singing during the acoustic parts. Vocalist Nick Block is clearly of the Akerfeldt-variety: angelic singing on one hand and guttural harshes on the other. These clean sections often bring the greatest sense of familiarity between them, proving key points in keeping the song together. To me they were also the highlight of the song as the melodies are gorgeous and 100% hit my soft spot. It’s clear their guitarist has no lack of feeling in his playing.
To fulfill the expectations I set earlier I should be talking about the harsh sections, but rather what I feel is appropriate is mention how well they transitioned between clean and harsh. Often they blurred the lines with melodic leads during tormenting harsh vocals and instrumentation of almost tech death levels of intensity during the singing. Sometimes they brought out the vocoder Cynic-style for extra effect in these parts, which was a nice touch. These harsher parts are also where I feel they primarily distinguish themselves from their peers, and most importantly, Opeth. The riffs of this band stem mostly from modern tech death, opposed to Opeth‘s more melodic not-really-death-metal-yet-not-not-death-metal riffs, and besides that there are frequent doom-y passages to provide a nice contrast slowing things down. I feel like their riffs were serviceable, but there was certainly room for improvement in this department. This may be my general apathy towards tech death and doom metal speaking (and general nitpickyness), but I felt like the tech death riffs could be meaner and a good deal more vicious than they were, and the doom metal riffs did bring good contrast, but opposed to the better doom metal I’ve heard they didn’t hit you like a truck. When I hear death metal, I want to feel a sheer primal response to just crush things and when I hear doom metal, I want to be absolutely crushed by the weight of the riffs. Wills Dissolve didn’t achieve this enough I feel. This is a genre of extremes, and to make it work you have to make the listener experience those. Granted, their more fun tech death riffs were great (such as during the vocoder parts), but in the others there was room for improvement.
I guess this translates to a further point is that the highs (or should I say, lows?) this band reached didn’t reach the ridiculous highs similar bands like Opeth or Ne Obliviscaris manage to reach in their songwriting. Along with an overlong intro and outro this keeps the song from being a cut above instead of simply a very good work of art. The groundwork is definitely there though as the cohesion and songwriting is otherwise stellar. This band clearly has the chops to make a classic album. I may have been harsh on this release (my expectations for this genre are impossibly high for any band), but don’t let you discourage you from checking this out. “Echoes” is a great song, which considering its length should be good enough of a reason to check it out. I am absolutely keeping an eye out for this band, and so should you.
Reviewed by: Sam
In : English
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