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Peculiar Three – Leap Of Faith

Peculiar Three
Leap Of Faith
by Joseph Brewer at 10 June 2020, 2:33 AM

PECULIAR THREE, as their name suggests, is a three-piece band that hails from Greece. After doing a bit of research on the band online, it is clear that they are extremely passionate about their music. All of their releases so far have been independent, recorded live in studio, and mixed for release. From their Bandcamp page, “We are the Peculiar Three. We are our own influences, passions and virtues. The Uroborus which enshrines our lust to create. We are our own expression through music. We are the Peculiar Three and we invite you to our cyclical dance…” What a fantastic declaration of artistic freedom. In their second full album, “Leap Of Faith,” PECULIAR THREE conjures a morose atmosphere of progressive and heavy rock.

After my first pass of the album, I had questions regarding the production, however. There are moments throughout “Leap Of Faith” that just sound rough. The guitar tones by Panos Karkanas can sometimes come off as muffled, to the point where it just sounds like a bad amp was used. Valantis Dafkos on vocals has a good voice, but I can’t say that it is perfect. There are a handful of missed notes and pitchy moments that are slightly off putting. On their opening track “Perpetual,” for instance, Dafkos sounds fine, but the backup vocals during the chorus really makes me cringe. From reading their Bandcamp page, I did see that they recorded these songs live. If that means what I think it means (that they actually set up as a band and recorded the songs together at the same time), then that actually helps me understand the quality. It’s a different experience when things are recorded like that, so I don’t completely need to attribute it to just bad equipment or experience.

The other feature of the album I feel like I have to address is the performance itself. While the vibe of PECULIAR THREE lends itself to gloomy, progressive metal elements, not all of the time change elements work. Whether or not the intention was to have interesting time changes during songs, purposeful slowdowns, or highlighted snare drum syncopated lines, it just doesn’t work and often comes off as a bit clumsy. Drummer Paris Gatsios has moments where his cymbal hits that are just slightly off, and, if recorded differently, could have been fixed to be cleaner. Maybe as a reviewer, I’m a bit jaded, but so many artists out there are executing their songs to perfection. As a result, in an independent effort like this, every minor flaw can become obvious and detract from the central message of the music.

All that being said, I still enjoyed several songs off of “Leap Of Faith.” Most of their songs come in at around the mid five-minute mark and have the standard song structure. “Inkblot” is the standout song for me, as all of the elements work together well. The song kicks off with a simple, moving rhythm, with the guitar and bass bouncing in unison before they build up with some power chords. When Dafkos comes in, he uses this fantastic creepy whisper with a backup echo that is entrancing. By the time they reach the bridge, they’ve built the song up to a catchy and almost soaring peak with the chorus.

One song where the prog elements work without issue is “The Sentient.” The beginning of the song pulls off a textbook prog instrumental section with synchronized notes between the instruments. It is by no means rewriting the prog book, but it does work well and leads right into the song smoothly. While there are good moments on “Leap Of Faith” that are worth highlighting (“Caliban’s End” has a nice folky sound, which is different from the rest of the songs), the poor production and minor execution issues were enough to turn me away from really enjoying the album.

Favorite Songs: “Inkblot”, “The Sentient

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Perpetual
2. Innermost
3. Inkblot
4. Marginal
5. Leap Of Faith
6. The Sentient
7. Knaves O’Knives
8. Caliban’s End (Bonus Track)
Lineup:
Valantis Dafkos – Vocals & Bass
Panos Karkanas – Guitars & Keys
Paris Gatsios – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 01 December 2022
 

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