The Polish band Anvision started in 2007 and after recording the four-track album Eyes Wide Shut (2010), they experienced some changes. The current line-up of the band is guitarist Greg, bass player Art, drummer Larz, vocalist Marqus and keyboard player Lukas. For the latter two musicians, AstralPhase is the first recording with Anvision, which is in fact their first full-fledged album. Musically Anvision blend the heavy drums and guitars of progressive metal with a melodic way of singing and the multi-layered keyboard sounds of progressive rock.
The album contains compositions with a strong base of multi-layered keyboards, but the guitar gets room enough to impress. Sometimes the style is relaxed and fluent, slightly in the vein of David Gilmour (Pink Floyd). This can clearly be heard in the opener The Astronaut, but also in Mercitron where the solo is clearly inspired by Gilmour. However, it would do Greg no justice to refer to Gilmour only. In this song Greg blends pleasant heavy metal riffs similar to John Petrucci (Dream Theater) with relaxed solos; for me this works pretty well.
Adding vocalist Marqus to the band was a good choice since his voice is strong and clear. Listen for instance to I Can't Live Without My Love, which is dominated by his voice and by melodic keyboards. It starts gently, then the power increases and it finishes as a kind of power ballad including some fine guitar passages and solos. However, principally the music has a strong and powerful base of steady drumming and heavy riffs, of which I Have No Fear and Mental Suicide are good examples. In all songs the keyboards are just too prominent to call it pure heavy metal. Although the guitars have a strong metal feel, I think this album will suit the average progressive rock fan who appreciates powerful metal riffs as the basis of a composition.
Well, the introduction to the music of this, for me, new Polish band certainly wasn't disappointing. The songs are heavily keyboard-orientated while the guitars represent the metal and darker side of prog rock while guitarist Greg alternates strong heavy riffs with wonderful melodic solos. But above all the compositions sound pleasantly and have been perfectly built; they leave plenty of room for the individual musicians to shine. However, the icing on the cake is singer Marqus, who has made an indelible impression on me. He never screams and his voice always maintains that clear and relaxed sound.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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