Disperse - Living Mirrors
Season Of Mist
Progressive Metal
13 songs (55:19)
Release year: 2013
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Polish progsters Disperse have really pulled out the New Age book of clichés here. The second album from the four-piece, Living Mirrors wants to be a soft, gentle form of prog, all echoing strums and atmospheric keyboards; as much rock as metal, really, although it’s more than heavy enough to give it the genre tag that I did. What this album actually is, is the nicer side of prog metal topped with a modern sheen that’s more djent than Dream Theater. It would definitely be better without the djent-chug, which often seems simplistic and overpowers the lovely guitar parts that I’d have loved to be able to focus on wholeheartedly; Jakub Żytecki is a talented player, and should be given room to shine. Yet on the whole, Disperse are skilful enough to create pleasant soundscapes despite the djent-chuggery, which is real proof of talent. Betwixt and between the rhythm guitar, it’s something like what you’d get if (modern) Cynic wrote a concept album about a hippy commune. Butoh shows this off well, bass-solos and blissfulness, and the following Choices Over Me, softly chanting vocals and skilful guitar passages showing what the band can do.

Living Mirrors is an excellent showcase for Disperse generally, a definitely talented band that seems more interested in working through the way songs feel rather than trying to attempt catchiness. It’s pleasant on your ears, focusing on atmosphere and melody – strangely reminding me of a less playful and silly Devin Townsend at moments. The various songs aren’t so much ‘songs’ as chunks of sound, and it feels wrong to be dicing the album up and trying to examine each in turn. Intro Dancing With Endless Love and interludes like Prana, Be Afraid of Nothing and the superbly-titled WOW! are links in the chains that connect songs, but aren’t different enough from them in general to make them feel like interludes. It’s all, like, connected and interwoven, dude.

The album definitely works better as a whole – I couldn’t really connect with it until I gave it my full attention, so asking you to get the full impact from single and music video Enigma of Abode seems foolhardy, but it does sum up the band well, particularly with that widdly instrumental section. Disperse frequently shift between metal sections and more ethereal, almost ambient moments, sounding like a very blissed-out Deftones on clear highlight Message From Atlantis where the backing groove helps accentuate the melodies wonderfully. Generally, it’s quite a pretty album, the sheer delicacy of it reminding me of Anathema’s recent output, although keyboardist Rafał Biernacki’s vocals aren’t anywhere near as heartrending. Note I said pretty rather than beautiful – the attempt at emotion is genuine, but I’m not sure the emotion itself is, and in terms of impact left me fairly cold. Much as the album itself, ultimately! Good enough to recommend, when all is said and done, and interesting, even with its clear and obvious flaws that dragged it down.

Killing Songs :
Message from Atlantis, Butoh, Choices Over Me
Goat quoted 70 / 100
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