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Turbulence – Frontal Award winner

Turbulence
Frontal
by Mark Machlay at 20 April 2021, 6:40 AM

Lebanese prog metal band TURBULENCE have released their sophomore album entitled “Frontal” through infamous Frontiers Records and it is certainly worth the five year wait after their debut. The group was founded in Metn, Lebanon by guitarist Alain Ibrahim and keyboardist Mood Yassin in 2013. They began by playing 4 live shows titled “DREAM THEATER night” in which they gave jaw-dropping performances from the enormous repertoire of prog metal titans DREAM THEATER. They achieved this by assembling some of the best local talent that Metn had to offer, propelling them into local fame and firmly establishing themselves as some of the best musicians in their field. Abrahim and Yassin then joined up with singer Omar El Hage in order to write and produce their debut album “Disequilibrium”. The album immediately gained a lot of attention, garnering highly positive reviews in 2015 and earned them the reputation as one of the most proficient and up-and-coming prog bands in the Middle East. Though the region may not be famous for incubating bands of their genre, they left quite a mark on the community.

There would be a period of inactivity prior to releasing their new album “Frontal”. The band came to the conclusion that they needed to expand their roster and add some much needed elements in order for them to set to work on their next record. They would soon complete their lineup with Sayed Gereige on drums and Anthony Atwe on bass. “Frontal” saw the band pushing their musical storytelling to their limits with a concept album based around the true story of construction worker Phineas Gage, who miraculously survived a metal rod impaling his head. Famously, it would seem that he was no worse for the wear, but because of his partially destroyed frontal lobe his personality would be forever changed.

Despite the fact that DREAM THEATER is obviously an influence, I wouldn’t necessarily liken TURBULANCE with DREAM THEATER’s unique brand of over-the-top circus act speed unisons but compare them more to HAKEN especially with 2016s “Affinity” and PAIN OF SALVATION’s Daniel Gildenlow is closer to Omar El Hage’s vocal style. Another positive for the band is the overall production, the cleaner, softer sections are nicely spacious, the heavy sections are suitably powerful without the need for me to reach for the volume nob and I never felt any fatigue despite the lengthy track times. With five of the eight songs being over eight minutes, the band has a tough job of keeping my focus, but I don’t mind losing myself in the soundscape they’ve created and I end up getting lost, realizing that several minutes have gone by when it only feels like two or three. Opener “Inside the Gage” does a perfect job of introduction to the band – also the longest track – taking you through so many emotions from PHIL COLLINS-like ethereal to John Petrucci crazy guitar licks, preparing the listener for a meaty prog epic. Though, second track “Madness Unforeseen” seemingly kicks it up a notch in speed, similar to DREAM THEATER’s “Panic Attack” in style. But the band is also able to have some jazz fusion prowess as well with the ode to the likes of PAT METHENY jazzy guitar and instrumental licks in a primal, emotional turn on “Faceless Man”. TURBULANCE hopefully won’t wait another 5 years to release an album, because they have permanently been added to my list of bands to watch.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Inside the Gage
2. Madness Unforeseen
3. Dreamless
4. Ignite
5. A Place I Go to Hide
6. Crowbar Case
7. Faceless Man
8. Perpetuity
Lineup:
Alain Ibrahim – Guitars
Mood Yassin – Keyboards
Omar El Hage – Vocals
Sayed Gereige – Drums
Anthony Atwe – Bass
Record Label: Frontiers Music
     


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