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Persefone – Metanoia Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 11 February 2022, 7:42 AM

You would think that Andorran Progressive Death Metal band PERSEFONE would be much better known by the Metal community at this point. Formed in 2001, they released album after album all independently. In 2016, their masterpiece “Aathma” shot down anything else released that year, and saw the band at the top of their game. Still, they were largely unknown. Recently, Napalm Records signed them, and they recently released “Metanoia,” and I have a feeling that things will change for the sextet from the tiny microstate in Europe. The album contains ten tracks.

The title track leads us off. It’s a short, two-minute mood setter. The mood is somber, with clean vocals that build with power and background symphonic elements. “Katabasis” kicks in with a heavy and energetic riff, and once again, the band displays masterful musicianship through a variety of different meters. Can anyone do this better than they do? Harsh vocals enter and the sound turns are absolutely punishing. The crescendo to the final chorus is as charming as it is powerful.

“Architecture of the I” opens with clean and pretty tones. The meter shifts to harsh vocals and there are enough symphonics to fuel an orchestra. The guitars move so tightly that you could not squeeze a dime between them. Bass trickery comes in after the half-way mark, with clean guitars and vocals, and a nice melody line. Angry, but quite beautiful vocals take the song to completion. “Leap of Faith” begins with the first discernable piano notes by Miguel. I have always maintained that he is the secret weapon in the band and they should feature him more. This instrumental is again very pretty, but also a bit mysterious. “Aware of Being Watched” is a longer offering, opening with keys and clean vocals. The emotional impact of this song is very high. The guitar solo is haunting, and the run to the end reminds me of someone running through a forest at night, trying to escape what creature is behind them, continually losing ground.

“Merkabah” was the first single released on the album. It opens with clean and charming tones that are soon dashed by harsh, angry vocals and more of those highly technical passages. Try to follow the impossibly wound interplay between the drums and the instruments…you will end up dizzy pretty fast. “Consciousness Pt. 3” begins with the same piano melody like as the instrumental from the “Spiritual Migration” album in 2013. But the strength in this eleven-minute opus comes from deep within. The sound slowly builds to a swirling and brewing caldron under the command of a wizard. They toy with you as you are waiting for that big crescendo, but boy does it come soon. Instrumentation becomes steady fuller and they hit you with a big, poignant kick in the ass that would wake up residents in a cemetery.

“Anabasis Pt. 1” is a three-movement closer. The first movement features Miguel’s beautiful piano charm, along with some symphonic elements that are equally as pretty. Seguing into the second movement, which features Angel Vivaldi on guitars, it opens with a heavy, ever-shifting meter. Clean vocals wash away the anger, which returns with an unbridled vengeance. Somber yet alluring piano tones and clean vocals push towards the half-way point. From there, harsh tones break to a crescendo that will leave your heart on the floor. The final movement begins with frail piano notes. Poignant vocals enter and you feel a sense of warm renewal. Maybe the world isn’t as bad as you read about. There is always hope, and this final movement reminds you that is the greatest of all things.

I’ve read some of the reviews of the new album, and some are inconsistent. But don’t you believe the lackluster ones. This album is a bit more concise than previous effort, but no less of a masterpiece. I do wish they had featured more piano in their music, as it is the shining glory of the band in my opinion. But all things considered, this remains an elegant, charming, and powerful album of both melodies and impossibly tight technical passages that only PERSEFONE could compose, in all of their prowess. They remain on top of their game.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Metanoia
2. Katabasis
3. Architecture of the I
4. Leap of Faith
5. Aware of Being Watched
6. Merkabah
7. Consciousness Pt. 3
8. Anabasis Pt. 1
9. Anabasis Pt. 2
10. Anabasis Pt. 3
Toni Mestre Coy – Bass
Carlos Lozano Quintanilla – Guitars, Vocals
Miguel Espinosa – Keyboards, Vocals
Marc Martins Pia – Vocals
Sergi Verdeguer – Drums
Filipe Baldaia – Guitars
Record Label: Napalm Records


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