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Reverent Tales – Visceral Award winner

Reverent Tales
by Santiago Puyol at 21 June 2020, 11:22 AM

Portuguese Progressive Metal band REVERENT TALES have released their debut record "Visceral", an outstanding slice of Modern Prog Metal with a dash of Post-Metal influences. Through its eight tracks, the album lives up to its title, feeling truly visceral and emotional, even a little theatrical at points.

Opener "Above Me" is bookended by a folky melody, with some flute or flute-like synth adding a mysterious vibe to the track. The song is groovy and slightly jazzy, especially when it comes to the drumming, and features a great layering of synths to build ambience. Raquel Nunes’ clean vocals have so much power to them, and contrast nicely with her harsh ones, blossoming on the song’s extremely catchy chorus.

"Era Of Witches" comes next, with subtle electronic elements as a fun touch. There is a strong groovy core to the track, proggy yet accessible, getting playful with time signatures and allowing the band to truly flex their muscles here. Meanwhile, "Visions Of Carnage" features some almost thrashy riff-building. The constant organ on the background adds a gothic touch. The song builds-up in a nasty way, with fiery energy emerging from the whole band. Nunes’ vocals are neither quite harsh not quite clean, that gritty middle point fits the angry yet cautious sound they seem to be going for before an explosive final section.

Horror soundtrack-like keyboards welcome the listener into "Enclosure." This fun song is a perfect example of the dexterous drum work from Carlos Matos, diverse and on point, never overplaying even at his most complex. REVERENT TALES goes for pure drama on the Post-Rockish outro of this song, layering electronic and “organic” elements as well as spoken word samples.

"A Strange Revelation" allows Pedro Bendada and António Freitas to show off a little. Bendada provides some beautiful and vulnerable piano playing and hypnotic synth sounds, while Freitas lays down a funky groove, one of the most prominent and memorable basslines on the record. A real highlight.

The intro of "Blackened Slumber" goes truly heavy, one of the heaviest moments on the record, it slaps hard. There is an almost punkish energy to the track and goes to an optimistic high on the chorus, very bright and punchy. Matos’ drumming oscillates between manic and simple but direct, fitting the moods the song goes through as needed.

Another highlight of the album is the stunning "Empty Wonder Rivers", mixing spidery and melodic, Post-Metalish guitar lines with a groovy, syncopated rhythmic structure. The speech samples as on "Enclosure" come back, going along with the music in a remarkable way.

Closer "Creature" is simply outstanding, a perfect summation of everything that came before in mini-epic format. Trying to describe everything would be futile, but the playful section between 3:52 and 4:15 deserves mention, as the band gets to have some fun with triplets and an overall offbeat feel on the interplay between guitar and rhythm section. A lovely little moment of pure jam fun. As a whole, a truly dramatic track that explodes into pure intensity.

"Visceral" might not be reinventing the wheel entirely, but it is a more than solid debut by this band, with a great, warm but still raw production, top-notch musicianship and strong songwriting. REVERENT TALES excels at delivering complex yet accessible Prog Metal, anchored on a sense of melody and perfect timing. As a Prog Metal album "Visceral" rarely surprises, but the band is really effective on translating their ideas to song. That kind of craftsmanship is certainly a virtue.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Above Me
2. Era Of Witches
3. Visions Of Carnage
4. Enclosure
5. A Strange Revelation
6. Blackened Slumber
7. Empty Wonder Rivers
8. Creature
António Freitas – Bass
Carlos Matos – Drums
Nuno Pereira – Guitar
Pedro Bendada – Keyboards
Raquel Nunes – Vocals
Record Label: Amazing Records


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