Wednesday 9 October 2013

DispersE - Living Mirrors (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 15/2/2013
Label : Season of Mist

Living mirrors, album track listing :

1.                 Dancing with Endless Love
2.                 Enigma of Abode
3.                 Profane the Ground
4.                 Prana
5.                 Message from Atlantis
6.                 WOW!
7.                 Universal Love
8.                 Be Afraid of Nothing
9.                 Unbroken Shiver
10.             Touching the Golden Cloud
11.             Butoh
12.             Choices Over Me
13.             AUM

Bio :

DISPERSE were founded in the Polish city of Przeworsk in December 2007 by guitarist Jakub Żytecki, vocalist / keyboarder Rafał Biernacki and Marcin Kicyk on bass. During the next six month the group composed four songs, which formed the basis of their first demo release "Promo 2008". For their first shows including the prestigious GO-Rock Festival DISPERSE worked with session drummer Konrad Biczak, who was permanently replaced by Przemek Nycz in summer 2008.

As early influences, the Poles name CYNIC, TOTO, PORTAL, AEON SPOKE, PLANET X, DEVIN TOWNSEND and ALLAN HOLDSWORTH. Their wide range of musical interests is also reflected by stylistic elements ranging from Progressive Rock via Fusion, Jazz, Metal, Experimental up to Djent.

In 2009 DISPERSE received an offer from compatriots RIVERSIDE to take part in their domestic "Anno Domini High Definition" tour. Afterwards the band went on to record their debut album "Journey Through The Hidden Gardens" (2010) under the auspices of Paweł "Janos" Grabowski. The material was mixed by Szymon Czech (Studio X) while Grzegorz Piwowski was in charge of mastering. Although DISPERSE openly revealed their roots, they already managed to shape a sound of their own on "Journey Through The Hidden Gardens" (2010).

Their critically acclaimed first full-length opened new doors for DISPERSE, who performed at venues and festivals throughout Poland, where they supported such renowned acts as MARILLION. Their reputation as excellent live performers spread and as a result international shows including the Euroblast Festival in Germany and UK Tech-Metal Fest in Alton followed, where the band also presented Daniel Kesler as second guitarist, drummer Maciej Dzik and Wojciech Famielec on bass as their new members.

The Band

Rafał Biernacki | Vocals & keys
Jakub Żytecki | Guitars
Wojciech Famielec | Bass
Maciej Dzik | Drums

Review :

DispersE.  Not your average prog band by any means, these Polish wizards take the genre, shake it, strap electrodes to its nipples, then give it the juice.  Their new album is called ‘Living Mirrors’ and, by Crikey, it’s something else.  If you like your prog mixed with Meshuggah, LSD and the thrill of outer space, then this may be the perfect cocktail for you. 

Opener ‘Dancing with Endless Love’ is beautiful.  There really is no other way to describe such a wonderful instrumental overture such as this: it’s a dreamy, subtle wonder that makes your eyes close and your mind begin to expand.  Colours start to seep into your vision as the music reaches its electrifying peak, then ‘Enigma of Abode’ slips in like a thief and steals your ears for its plunder.  This track flirts with being both strangely electronic and skull-mashingly heavy.  Seriously, it’s packed with amazingly destructive riffs, powerful vocals and just blistering solos: get it in your ear holes right away! 

‘Profane the Ground’ is a hammering, clamouring ode to the sky and the joy of discovery.  Rafał Biernacki’s haunting vocals remind me of forgotten youth and, just when the nostalgia starts to get a bit too soppy, a solo careens into you and reminds you in no uncertain terms to man up and get with the program.  When listening to this, I felt I was actually being lifted up towards the clouds and allowed to fly without wings.  It’s that good.  ‘Prana’ follows up proceedings with a trip-hop beat and spacey, mellow overtones.  If the preceding tracks have been a little too intense for you, this will level you out nicely. 

Then we have ‘Message from Atlantis’.  It’s a slow build, washing over you like a gentle incoming tide.  You may find yourself so relaxed and at peace you’ll simply stop a while and just relax.  Listen to the eerily beautiful siren voices sultrily singing.  Open your eyes.  You’ve been taken out to sea unwittingly.  Now you understand the true message of the Deep: it’s one of beautiful anger and deadly beauty.  ‘WOW!’ skitters in with a scratch of electronic oddness and an overture of ambient delight.  Mixed with a few choice sound bites, it’s a trip that reaches up to touch dizzying new heights. 

Shoving you bodily from your mellow lull is ‘Universal Love’: Jakub Żytecki’s guitar wizardry is beyond compare, at once both delicate and brutal, with solos so picture perfect da Vinci himself would weep to behold them.  To describe DispersE as mere musicians is a tad inaccurate: they are much, much more than that.  Think of them instead as artisans, crafting new and more original works with each track.  The latest creation after the moving ‘Universal Love’ is ‘Be Afraid of Nothing’, another gorgeous instrumental interlude that showcases Jakub’s formidable skills which silkily lead into ‘Unbroken Shiver’, which is a song which shows off everyone’s particular set of mighty skills, especially Maciek Dzik’s jazzy, blasting drumbeats and Wojtek Famielec’s snapping bass work.  This song is another delicious slice of prog metal: going from New Romantic heights to dark polyrhythmic depths, DispersE leave no creative stone unturned.  The synth and electronica elements are such a delightfully ethereal addition to proceedings: prog has never felt so good. 

‘Touching the Golden Cloud’ is a sumptuous offering from these Polish wonderkids.  Starting with trippy electronica, the bass and drums warmly wrap you in their music and you are whisked away to new lands of musical exploration and sensation.  About two-thirds of the way through the heaviness comes bounding in with relentless force, buffeting you with distorted turbulence.  And yet a haunting voice sings on, letting you know your journey is still a safe one.  ‘Butoh’ comes in after this with the classiness of a jazz café in the sixties, a minimalist intro with some great riffs and simply majestic bass.  Its ambient nature almost reminds me of Brian Eno, but with a core of vibrant prog to add colour to the canvas.  What a strangely delightful picture it creates. 

Beauty again begins proceedings as ‘Choices Over Me’ tangos in with a melodious guitar sound.  Then dark and mighty musical storm clouds spurt lightning and growl thunder upon your landscape.  It rains hot riffs down on you, and you shouldn’t be afraid to dance in it.  Feel the notes tap down on your skin, refreshing and revitalising you utterly.  Our final track is ‘AUM, an explosion of sweeping sounds that makes its 9-minute length pass by in what seems like mere seconds.  Words can’t really do this monolithic masterpiece justice (even mine! Haha!), so I simply urge you to check out this song.  It’s waiting for you. 

Dream Theater turned prog metal into an art form many, many years ago.  What DispersE have done with ‘Living Mirrors’ is paint a picture using bright, vibrant new colours and set it on display for us all to admire.  I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like: and DispersE’s latest album is a piece of art everyone should be able to fall in love with. 

Words by : Chris Markwell

You can buy the record here

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