The German band Effloresce is one of the first bands that signed to the new Generation Prog Records label. Listening to the music on their debut album Coma Ghosts, the label has made a right decision to contract them. They mix the atmospheric heaviness of a band like Opeth with the melodic power of Dream Theater. Combined with the female vocals they definitely have their own style. Vocalist Nicki Weber is also responsible for the lyrics, the flute playing and the death growls, which at first sounded as a male voice to me. The other members are guitarist Tim Ivanic, keyboard player and guitarist Dave Mola, bassist Sebastian Ott and drummer Tobi Süß. The famous Dan Swäno mixed Coma Ghosts.
The album contains six songs; apart from Undercoat all songs last more than seven minutes. The opener Crib immediately grabs you by the throat: a powerful guitar plays over an impressive drum beat with a soft keyboard layer underneath. What really stands out is Nicky Webers's voice, a bit in the vein of the Dutch singer Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation). The middle-section contains a nice Dream Theater-like passage that leads to a stunning solo and an atmospheric soundscape passage ending again with a powerful section. Spectre Pt.1: Zorya's Dawn starts with an instrumental part in the vein of Dream Theater, but the guitar solos definitely have another style. Than the bass takes over in a Tool-like manner; when the vocals join in you'll be impressed by the fragility of Nicky's voice, one of the strong features of this band. Her voice can handle soft and fragile parts, but heavy and powerful parts and even growls as well. The first time I heard these growls I couldn't suppress laughing; it sounded as someone who gets sick. Well, to be honest I can do without these sometimes vomiting sounds; I preferably hear her sing. As a contrast she also plays the flute which balances the song perfectly.
Pavement Canvas opens easier and is slightly different from the previous songs, slowly building up the tension towards the twin guitars and the double bass drums. These guitar parts are awesome since the speed and mood change every other few seconds; really brilliant! In this piece the vocals tend a bit more to those of Anneke van Giersbergen formerly of the Dutch band The Gathering. Luckily the growls are kept to a minimum here and the focus is on the impressive instrumental parts. I love the combination of the bass, drums and the guitar; their craftsmanship really shines. Like I already said, the shortest song is Undercoat, an instrumental with atmospheric keyboards under a soft and emotional guitar part. Swimming Through Deserts is a kind of extension to the previous song, a ballad-like composition with acoustic guitars, fretless bass and vocals in the vein of 'Edenbridge meets Within Temptation'.
Shuteye Wanderer, the album's final piece is an over sixteen-minute epic monster. Nicki Weber screams, the progressive metal sounds are all over the place and you can feel the power of this mighty piece. In the middle-section the music changes into a relaxed part with flute and smooth bass play, just to gradually gain the power of the beginning again. The beautiful guitar solo is my icing on the cake.
Like I already stated above, Generation Prog Records made the right decision to contract Effloresce and if the music on this album is the standard for follow-up albums, I'll be very impressed. The Germans made a great album, although the growls are a bit too much for my ears. Luckily Nicky Weber doesn't use them that much and the stunning performances of the instrumentalists truly compensate for this. For me Coma Ghosts is one of the most impressive debut albums of 2012 so far.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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