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Toliman - Abstraction

by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 13 January 2020, 4:43 AM

TOLIMAN is a Progressive Metal band from Italy.   “Abstraction,” is their debut.  Although an EP, it has nearly thirty minutes worth of music across the five tracks. This is one hell of a release—the band hasn’t been together a long time so I’m very impressed at how well they play together and the quality of the songs on this album.  I always do a track by track when an album is an EP or just has a handful of songs so let’s dive into this beast.

The first track, “Abstraction,” begins with some melodic guitar noodling from Jack and Riccardo while Francesco and Luca bring a solid rhythm section to the forefront.  About forty seconds into the song, Paolo’s wonderful vocals bring it all together.  The rest of the song is full speed ahead, with each member a part of this progressive puzzle of coherent song writing.  Despite their chosen musical style, there is no pretense to “Abstraction.”  It is just a solid, even catchy song, that just happens to be played by people who know what the hell they are doing.

The riffs and tempo changes frequently but nothing comes off as distracted or spastic—every change is very much deliberate for the sake of the song and not for showing off needlessly. “Tyrannus,” is riff based and heavy from the very opening segment. Shortly thereafter, the guitars stop to allow the bass to shine alongside Paola’s voice.  As much as I love Prog, many bands fall short in the vocal department but that isn’t the case with TOLIMANPaolo’s voice is a true pleasure to listen to.  She is powerful, expressive, clear, and concise with her execution and just as essential to the sound as her band mates.  The riffs are massive during the stanza’s and even a little groovy during the chorus.  Jack and Riccardo are really good at taking the song from each part to the next without sounding like they are shoehorning anything in—their playing just flows smoothly.

Their riffs around the three-minute mark just pulverize—and Francesco and Luca are more than happy to oblige.  Both of them are one hell of a rhythm section and rock-solid foundation that holds the entire band on a higher pedestal. “Alkaline,” is a bit more mysterious and ambient than the two tracks before.  This one has the steady pulse of bass and keys blanket the background with simple but effective tones.  Clean guitars and a more lithe vocal approach soon join in. However, the band doesn’t rest very long as choppy Metal riffs break up the track’s early moments.  I think Paola gives one of her best performances on this album—her soaring vocals really work well with the riffs, pulsing bass, and drums that are on constant attack to both compliment the song and hammer your goddamn head.  I loved that her wail leads right into a guitar solo—the last minute of the song is a Prog fans wet dream with just everything you could ask for.

The fourth track, “Once,” is the longest track presented at just over seven minutes in length.  As you could imagine, this track displays a wide scenario of musical styles and instrumentation.  The beginning is built around bass, vocals, and drums.  About halfway thru, the band comes together with a shining guitar solo before going back to a more bass oriented piece.  The last couple minutes or so features Paolo singing her ass off, her lungs surely ready to burst.  This track is a showcase for the band’s versatility and the emotion they can bring to the table.

The final track, “Alpha Ori,” is, in places, heaviest track on the album especially in the first minute.  I liked how the guitars create a sort of crescendo that builds the song up in various places.  It is within these moments where the band is at their creative best—using every second of the song to its fullest without becoming redundant or repetitive. There aren’t any real problems with this EP.  Obviously, I wish this album were a full length—I cannot wait to hear more from this band because I can only imagine what they will be able to create as they gain more experience together.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Abstraction
2. Tyrannus
3. Alkaline
4. Once
5. Alpha Ori
Riccardo Roggero – Guitar
Francesco Ottone – Drums
Jack Irrequieto – Guitar
Luca Mellina – Bass
Paola Urso - Vocals
Record Label: Bagana Music


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