The Progressive Souls Collective – Sonic Birth

Reviewed: September, 2020
Released: 2020, Metalville
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Erich

The Progressive Souls Collective’s release SONIC BIRTH is an interesting project and album. “Not a band, but a very exciting adventure dedicated to the love of heavy progressive music!” claims the not-a-band’s website biography. This release is the brainchild of guitarist and songwriter Florian Zepf. Zepf sought out the specific musicians to bring his ideas to fruition and the list of contributors is impressive. Aquiles Priester (ex Angra and Tony Macalpine) plays on drums, Conner Green (Haken) is on bass guitar, Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater, O.S.I., Chroma Key) provides loops and programming, while Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo) recorded all the keyboard parts. Vladimir Lalic (Organized Chaos) provides the impressive vocals for this ambitious album and Luis Conte (ex-Phil Collens) provides percussions.

SONIC BIRTH opens with a five-minute instrumental, not always the best way to reel people in, but it worked on me. “Metature” has an atmospheric and dream-like quality for much of the song with some tasteful, restrained guitar melodies. Zepf has immediately indicated with this opener that SONIC BIRTH will not be limited to the expected twisting and note dense technical romps typical of Dream Theater and Symphony X releases. SONIC BIRTH also sounds at times like Wolverine with The Darkness’s Justine Hawkins providing vocals. The next song, “Comfortable Darkness” is an absurdly compact tune for progressive metal at under three minutes and introduces Lalic and his confident and versatile vocals soaring over clean guitars.

As I wound my way through the album, Lalic began to stand out as the most distinctive element of the band, gifted with a tone that is unique and different than most progressive metal vocalists, particularly in the higher ranges. The level of the assembled talent ensures that each leaves a bit of their own personality on the music, unified under the guiding vision of Zepf. The album contains a fair amount of atmospheric and dreamy music, but there is no shortage of heavy and chunky guitars. Not surprisingly, there is an overabundance of shifting styles including Conga drums, jazz, and Marillion-inspired prog rock as on the lite weight ballad, “You And Me Alone.”

Adair Daufembach’s mix and mastering are superb, especially in capturing the drums. Despite the kitchen sink approach, and many high points of SONIC BIRTH, there is also nothing that pushes the established boundaries of progressive metal or offers anything not done many times before. Consequently, SONIC BIRTH is best enjoyed in small doses for most fans. Rabid prog metal fans can indulge in larger helpings that will nevertheless keep them occupied for quite some time. Recommended for fans of Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard, Symphony X, and Wolverine.


Videos


Track Listing:

1. Metature
2. Comfortable Darkness
3. Killing True Beliefs
4. Fractional Emotion
5. A Formula for Happiness
6. Inner Circle
7. You and me Alone
8. Hurt
9. Destiny Inc.
10. Mind Treasures
11. With Others

Lineup:

Florian Zepf – guitar
Vladimir Lalic – vocals
Conner Green – bass
Aquiles Priester – drums
Luis Conte – percussion
Kevin Moore – loops / programming

Websites:

www.facebook.com/TheProgressiveSoulsCollective

www.progressivesouls.net/

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About Erich Heintzelman

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