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Vicinity - Awakening Award winner

Vicinity
Awakening
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 07 October 2013, 6:55 PM

Like being thrown into the vastness of space, gazing at an immortal imagery of a black endless void filled with a wide selection of stars neatly spread around. Always peaking at the eyes of mystery, scouring the invisible boundaries, on a constant search for a new setting, a fresh variety of truth regarding life’s purposes and its doubts, there is plenty to look into out there, and the journey is far from being over. Talk about mystical greyness, but I couldn’t help myself as I was consumed by the spiritual world of progression. I learned about the Norwegian band VICINITY, consolidating their efforts around visions and displays of a Progressive Rock and Metal, demonstrating impressive set of playing skills, finding a near perfect alignment between RUSH, ANUBIS GATE, YES, DREAM THEATER, VANDEN PLAS while not slipping away without the flamboyant harmonic complexion of IRON MAIDEN. Signed to a local label named Pug-Nose Records, VICINITY released their debut full length, “Awakening”, an expedition through the midst of emptiness along the margins of several states of mind. It can be perceived either way, but I guess that there will be only a single turnout.

As I have been encircling Progressive Metal / Rock for a long time, its extensiveness, while emphasizing complexity and proficient skills over a smoother kind of songwriting, led me in time to the notion that there is quite a knack for this type of music to become a spectacle, a showmanship of a few individuals specialized in their instrumental roles having their golden moments. I have also encountered releases of a sort, whether extreme or not, which caused to me lose my mind or plainly to sit back and just wait for the bitter end. I wouldn’t say that DREAM THEATER didn’t lead me to the conclusion, and boy they did, but in time I found the beauty in this evolutionary state of the traditional creed. Following the merits of VICINITY, with a close observation on their songwriting, I found another patch of outstanding serenity, beneath the slim casting of heaviness, odd time signatures, intelligent arrangements and cerebral song structures. “Awakening” revealed itself as one of those records that slowly penetrates your shields with its edges, it carries the performance of these talented players, yet also let you immerse yourself in its enchanted melodic twines, guitaring and vocals, general musical ingenuity and the utmost orchestral feel other than being yet another spectator / listener. “Across The River” embraced with a divine atmospheric consciousness, gently enticing the soul with impeccable harmonics, impressive drumming dexterity, heavenly vocal showcase along with placid type riffing occasionally electrifying. Simply a celestial experience nothing less. “The Time For Changes” angles with a Metallic edge, drenching in the puddle of divinity every now and then, sometimes feels as if crossing between intermission of distorted kicks. Alexander K. Lykke’s vocal display is outstanding, such a moving voice, like a stab in the heart, strongly drugging the senses along with the lionized musical presentation. “Walk All The Way”, could have served as a long soundtrack, full with erudite shifts and harmonic Progressive Power Metal meets IRON MAIDEN parts, yet all in all it felt unified, it always come back to the same place, reminding that it is still a song, even if it carries quite a lot within its length. Lykke sounding like Michael Kiske at occasions, while reaching high notes, made me shiver a little with excitement, yet what set me off was the guitaring and the elegant passages from Rock to Metal and back forth.  And I think that it would be best if I will stop here.

Naturally, “Awakening” has its vague segments, bonding the dots within the songs, which nearly half of them crossed the 10 minutes line, yet what captured my attention was that even while being intricate and sophisticated, VICINITY established an amazing foundation and yet another bright mainstay to attest the belief that Progressive Metal can be unforgettable, a tad marketable and smooth sailing as if it was brief and undemanding like the majority of albums. I urge you, and to capture one of the best releases of 2013.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Mass Delusion
2. Opportunities Lost
3. Across The River
4. Walk All the Way
5. The Time for Change
6. Awakening
Lineup:
Kim-Marius H. Olsen – Guitar
Pierre-Nicolai Hesjevoll Schmidt-Melbye – Bass
Frode Lillevold – Drums
Alexander K. Lykke – Vocals
Reidulf Wormdal - Keyboards
Record Label: Pug-Nose Records
     


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