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The hitherto relatively unknown London band L'Anima delivers a strong debut here. Founded by Pedro Caparros in collaboration with Yardbird's singer Andy Mitchell, who have toured extensively the UK for a long time now. Stylistically they sit somewhere between Haken, District 97 (without female vocals), Pain of Salvation and Opeth. They deliver a compelling modern prog metal sound, mixed with Iberian stylings. So throughout the album a Spanish guitar can be heard, which seems strange at first listen, but then sounds absolutely perfect. The artwork is by English graphic artist Angelina Dove and is a convincing first outing with the band. The artist’s webpage is worth a visit.
Those who are into Prog metal certainly won’t feel they are missing keyboards here. There is a plenty of guitar, powerful bass, even more powerful drums and a singer with a convincing voice in all registers. The tracks are arranged excellently, but the musicians are not so much about "higher, further, faster", but about atmosphere. And this does not make it easy for the listener, because it is complex music, which certainly is not a difficult listen, but at the same time it is anything but simple. The not always instantaneous arrangements are understood only after some listening attempts and develop then the more intense listening experience.
With 8 tracks and about an hour of playing time, the fan knows what to expect. The songs are between 6 and 9 minutes long so that each track can develop individually at its best and the band make good use of it. Already in the opener POINT OF NO RETURN (that has nothing to do with the same titled track by Haken on their debut album) or in the follow-up, PATH TO SIRIUS, the band pulls a few aces out of their sleeve. The guitar grows mercilessly and the singer by no means plays second fiddle. Bass and drums create an excellent rhythm foundation and, above all, the composition is coherent. Great entry.
GEMA starts quietly with a Spanish guitar and melodic vocals, later shifting gear with great riffs. The band breaks from their style and delves into the difficult and “hymn like” MY DYING CELL. Perhaps not of everyone’s taste, the band here experiments with 2 tenors and a powerful choir. In addition, short interludes of acoustic guitar and a surprising change of pace.
HOLD OUT is also class. Powerful, impulsive, a lot of tempo changes, sometimes quiet, sometimes effervescent. A few lines in angry Italian, before the end breaks like a storm over us. A highlight! MY BLOODY SILHOUETTE is interesting with its courageous arrangement. One moment just pure metal, the next, Spanish flair. Difficult to grasp, very complex.
Finishing up with some great Prog, another hit: THE SOUND OF WAVES. Here, every bar is a real journey throughout its entire 9 minutes, ranging from Metal to Classic and Retro prog. Right from the start, the acoustic guitar fascinates and the song captures the listener until the end. Bringing the album to a close is a song where the Spanish guitars get an extended airing. Quieter and less raw than the other tracks, I really like this acoustic sound on the thoughtful THE ELEPHANT CEMETERY.
L'Anima prove with this strong debut that it is still possible, in the area of prog metal, to break new ground. You do not have to reinvent the genre. It is enough if you have good songs, which are arranged with courage. This is the case here, and so I recommend this album to any lover of the progressive metal.
CLASSIC ROCK SOCIETY MAGAZINE ISSUE n. 219 MAY/JUNE 2017 - "DEPARTURES" ALBUM REVIEW
POWERPLAY MAGAZINE ISSUE n. 198 MAY 2017 - "DEPARTURES" ALBUM REVIEW
PROG MAGAZINE ISSUE n. 77 MAY 2017 - SINGLE "POINT OF NO RETURN" FEATURED IN THE MAGAZINE'S CD COMPILATION
PROG MAGAZINE ISSUE n.75 MARCH 2017 - "DEPARTURES" ALBUM REVIEW