Persefone - Truth Inside The Shades
Progressive Melodic Death
6 songs (43:30)
Release year: 2004
Persefone, Intromental
Reviewed by Crims
Surprise of the month

Next time somebody asks you to name one band from Andorra, you no longer have to stare back with a blank face. That is because this debut release comes from a band who calls Andorra their home. Once the novelty of their homeland wears off, Persefone leave us with a very promising, though flawed debut release.

Persefone plays Melodic Death Metal with a progressive touch. The Melodic Death side of the band is firmly rooted in the Skydancer, Lunar Strain era of the genre and is slightly refreshing since that style of Melodic Death has, for the most part, left us as fast as it came. To the uninitiated that means mid-range growls that sound like a bastard child of Mikael Stanne and Anders Friden, along with Heavy Metal based, harmonic leads that compliment almost Black Metal riffs or almost Death Metal riffs. Yes, we have heard this before and quite frankly it’s not as good or as polished as the classics in the genre but Persefone aren’t a one trick pony. Fortunately, Melodic Death only begins to describe the sound of the band and that’s where the progressive moniker comes in. In between the doses of Melodic Death there are a lot of breaks and extended lead sections. The breaks are mostly laid-back, technical heavy Prog breakdowns that prominently feature keyboards and bass, with occasional lead work. There are also clean vocals during these sections and they don’t really fit into one style, though Opeth comes to mind, if only briefly. Much like the instruments during these breaks, the clean vocals are also laid back. Sometimes they are put through a type of hollow sounding filter and other times they are left alone. While the style employed fits the music I didn’t find them overly memorable and rather iffy at times. Without the filter there is actually more melody to the vocals and thus they sounded better completely clean. To further add to the prog sound of the band are keyboards. The keys are actually one of the high points of the band. They are extremely varied and sometimes brought to memories Arcturus during the atmosphere breaks, which can get quite creepy at times. At other times the sound and execution is almost exactly what Soilwork used on their first two releases, that is to say, unobtrusive texture adding synth. It doesn’t end there tough! Yes, there are more styles which include neo-classical leads and Power Metal styled symphonic elements. Speaking of Power Metal, depending on when you come in and listen to a particular song you might occasionally mistake Persefone for a Power Metal band. Though it doesn’t appear often, Persefone, every now and then, bust out into a galloping, triplet extravaganza with Power Metal keys and leads. The result is actually quite effective and was instantly memorable in each song when used.

There is actually more to Persefone’s sound including acoustic guitars, traditional Death Metal vocals, and Gothenburg Thrash, but I think you can get idea of just how varied and original the bands sound is. Though each specific element has been heard before they are combined in a highly unusual way and the shear amount of abrupt change ups really throw the listener around for a whirlwind of sounds. So just what exactly is the problem with this release then? Why is it flawed? Well, I’m glad you asked. The songs on here are quite long, especially the title track which is an 11 minute beast of a song. Long tracks aren’t a bad thing in themselves, but their better be some damn interesting things going on in the music. Not just everyone can pull it off and unfortunately Persefone aren’t consistent with the long songs. There is just too much atmosphere building and the lead breaks are too long at times for their own good. Essentially, about half the time the prog breaks appear to be there in the song for no real reason and don’t add to the songs nearly as much as they should or could have. When the band starts to get the energy level high, things stop out of nowhere and random piano and intricate bass work comes in. Though each individual piece of the music is very well played and of a high quality, the flow of the songs are constantly disrupted. The change ups are too abrupt and the really catchy and memorable leads and riffs disappear too soon in favor of an atmosphere break or piano interlude that isn’t nearly as interesting. Opeth gone horribly wrong? No, it's not nearly that bad, but it is an enjoyment detractor a little too often.

So there are definite high points to this release and the majority of music in each song is actually quite enjoyable. The harsh vocals are good; the keys are constantly evolving the songs in ways that I wouldn’t think possible; the leads bring back memories of the glory days of pre-pogo jumping In Flames as well as the pre-double riffage attack days of Children Of Bodom; and the riffs have a certain crunch and immediacy to them that instantly makes you pay attention. Persefone must be given credit for taking an established genre and taking it places it’s never been before and for showing such a high degree of musicianship on only their first CD. If the band can condense their songs, make the atmosphere building sections more interesting, and realize that milking a catchy as fuck lead in favor of another prog break isn’t necessarily a bad thing (Just listen to Stand Ablaze to see lead milking at its finest) then I seriously believe we could have a groundbreaking piece of Melodic Death the likes of which we’ve almost saw with 2003 releases from Omnium Gatherum and Estertor.

Killing Songs :
The Whisper Of Men, Niflheim, A Temporal Divinity
Crims quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Persefone that we have reviewed:
Persefone - Metanoia reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Persefone - Aathma reviewed by Andy and quoted 90 / 100
Persefone - Shin-Ken reviewed by Vrechek and quoted 79 / 100
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