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Plateau Sigma – Symbols - The Sleeping Harmony of the World Below Award winner

Plateau Sigma
Symbols - The Sleeping Harmony of the World Below
by Gary Hernandez at 16 December 2019, 6:16 PM

PLATEAU SIGMA is as intriguing as their name. If I had a heavy metal map, I would plot them at the latitude of Doom and longitude of Prog. Their lyrics have the depth of Black Metal; their compositions, the complexity of Prog; and their tonality, the depth of Doom. Their latest full-length album, “Symbols - The Sleeping Harmony of the World Below,” was released on October 24 on Avantgarde. They hail from Italy, and have been around for ten years with one EP and three LPs to their credit. Unbelievably, they’ve had the same lineup for their entire tenure . . . and it shows. They have no discernible stitches or extruding bolts. This isn’t a Frankenstein of a band struggling to hold itself together and battling its inner demons; rather, they are cohesive, cogent, and bleakly harmonious and “Symbols - The Sleeping Harmony of the World Below” is a gorgeous specimen of metal.

Drummer, Nino Zupparda states: “These are songs about history, afterlife, revelations, sex, religion, science, magic, war, paradoxes, atoms, myths, dogmas, miracles and wonders.” That’s a lot of ground to cover, even with eight tracks and close to an hour of play time. With the exception of track one, “Heterochromia,” the lyrics are fairly sparse, but the music itself carries a narrative of its own. To level set expectations, this isn’t a raucous discharge of ballistic riffs. This album is moody and weighty, but refreshingly the band doesn’t rely on synthesizers to create their atmosphere. There is a guest pianist (Giovanni Zuppardo) on track eight, “The Child and Presence,” and a bass synth (Eleonora Amerio) on track six, “The White Virgin,” but other than that, don’t expect vast simulacrums of symphonic instrumentation.

Standout tracks are “A Parody of Medea,” “The Moon Made Flesh,” “The White Virgin,” and “The Child and the Presence.” The one track that didn’t do it for me was “To Mnemsine’s Bittersweet Fruit,” which is also the shortest track on the album, so it looks like I’ll survive. My favorite aspects of the album are Nino Zuppardo’s drumming, the well-orchestrated oscillation of clean and harsh vocals (the vocals on “The White Virgin” are simply mind blowing), and the melodic guitar solos. I should also mention the production value of the entire album is exceptional.

Symbols - The Sleeping Harmony of the World Below” is resonant with down-tuned tonality and distinct in its musical refinement. It is mesmerizing and haunting like one of those paintings you shouldn’t stare at too long, or one of those books that you should never intone aloud – darkly compelling.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Heterochromia
2. Ouija and the Qvantvm
3. A Parody of Medea
4. To Mnemosine's Bittersweet Fruit
5. The Moon Made Flesh
6. The White Virgin
7. She Kept the Sacred Fire, Still
8. The Child and the Presence
Lineup:
Nino Zuppardo – Drums
Francesco Genduso – Guitars, Vocals (Harsh)
Manuel Vicari – Guitars, Vocals (Cclean)
Maurizio Avena – Bass
Record Label: Avantgarde Music
     


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