Sometimes the road that leads to the recordings of an album is a tough one, and in case of the Dutch band Adeia almost a tragic one. The band was formed by the classically trained violinist Laura ten Voorde, who has a passion for heavy rock music as well. She found a companion in cellist Ruben van Kruistum and together they formed the backbone of a very special band. Beside these two musicians, Adeia consist of Franc Timmerman (vocals), Laurens Hoppe (keyboards) and Dennis Burgemeester (bass). Two members of Sky Architect joined Adeia to complete the line-up: guitarist Wabe Wieringa and drummer Christiaan Bruin. The band recorded the debut album Hourglass in 2011, and released it independently a year after, but they got stuck in major setbacks. However, after continuing persistently and keeping the faith, Layered Reality Productions picked up the band and officially released Hourglass.
Adeia is not a common prog metal band since instruments like the violin and the cello are musically challenged by heavy guitars and grunts. All compositions have been penned by Ten Voorde, Van Kruistum and Timmerman. From the moment the music started I was surprised by the violin-cello combination accompanied by soft vocals, somewhere between Matthew Bellamy (Muse) and Ross Jennings (Haken). The influences of classical music are obvious, but the atmosphere changes heavily when the amplified instruments take over. Singer Franc Timmerman easily switches from a normal voice to raspy grunt-like screaming. I had to check the information sheet to determine whether the same singer does both vocal styles.
Cordyceps is an impressive piece that ends heavily and bombastically with violins and grunts. A wailing violin introduces Providence, but then a strong guitar riff takes over and again Timmerman's wide range of vocal possibilities steals the show. And again the great quality of blending classical instruments with loud electric guitars impressed me, but this piece also contains quieter moments. Sometimes the vocals tend toward Chris Cornell (Soundgarden); at other times Timmerman's singing is rough and harsh. A cool guitar solo finishes the song.
In the title track I also noticed some influences from Sky Architect, although the two band members from that band were not involved in the process of writing. During this ten-minute composition classical elements pass by together with robust double bass drums, death metal vocal parts and the contrasting gothic voice of Laura ten Voorde. It's difficult to describe this piece, but the overall impression is great; a mixture of many interesting musical parts fit perfectly together. Listen how the violin challenges the guitar in a fierce up-tempo part. Wieringa's guitar sounds distorted and nice in Filling The Void, but swiftly the mood changes again and again into a mind-boggling piece in which the acoustic strings and the guitar sound flawless. During this song a wide range of different guitar sounds pass by and this also applies to the many changes in singing.
The final composition is a fourteen-minute epic called Inheritance. It starts very serene with soft guitar picking and a violin that creates the mood; even birds are chirping in the background. After a vocal passage, the mood gently changes into a more powerful part, but still the music sounds quite impressive, although the 'normal' voices differ a bit from the previous songs. Generally the atmosphere of this composition slightly differs from the others, but the harsh vocals, the violin and the heavy guitar make sure that this song perfectly suits the other pieces.
Adeia really made something different! They're not afraid of experimenting with a wide variety of musical styles. Classical elements blended with prog rock and death metal, and a voice that is able to cover the entire vocal range. I won't be surprised if Adeia will be recognized for being the first band that performs in this particular style.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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