Votum is a Polish progressive rock band that started in 2003 as a heavy metal band, but between times developed to a heavy progressive band on their album Time Must Have A Stop (2008). Now hereís the second album of Votum on the Mystic Production-label and it seems we got ourselves a winner here! Most of the heavy sounds of their previous highlight have been traded for more atmospheric and a bit dark sounds on the Metafiction-album. Donít get me wrong! Votum is still a heavy progressive rock outfit, but they lost some metal on the way to create this new masterpiece.
The album opens with Fallen Dream, a relative slow song with a smooth intro and very emotional and sensitive vocals. This sets the mark for the entire album. Maciej Kosinskiís English vocals are very strong and with a tremendous range. The faster part of the song reminds me of Tiles sometimes and has some fine layers of keyboards and guitars. Glassy Essence contains a heavy intro with guitars and keyboards followed by some pleasant mood and speed changes. There are many small extras which make this a fine album. Listen for instance to the cymbals in the middle-section where drummer Adam Lukaszek does some enjoyable things. I donít know who does the soloing on this track, Alek Salamonik or Adam Kaczmarek, but both guitarists do a great job here. Home is a very cool song in a soft relaxed voice followed by a bass riff by Bartek Turkowski and a beautiful combination of guitar, keyboards and vocals. Faces is a short and mellow song, carried by good singing over a simple, but effective guitar and keyboards melody. Stranger Than Fiction is a heavy song that shows the vocal abilities of Kosinsky once again: from soft whispering to as close as a grunt he can get in this dark and heavy, moody song. Zbigniew Szatkowski shows he can play some mean keyboards on Indifferent, heavy influenced by Riverside. Somehow, the majority of the songs have a kind of Riverside-touch. On Indifferent, the keyboard melody is accompanied by the guitars that grow into a very fine solo. Great song! The over 9-minute progressive rock epic, December 20th, is just a jewel. This piece has it all to be the highlight of this album: heavy guitars, great vocals, atmospheric layers of keyboards in a fantastic composition. Maybe this piece has some Porcupine Tree- influences, but most of the modern progressive rock bands nowadays have listened to Porcupine Tree, I guess. Well, there are worse bands to be influenced by.
Votum can be described best as a light version of Riverside with lots of atmospheric and moody additions, influenced by Porcupine Tree, Anathema and even Pink Floyd. Metafiction is one of the best new albums Iíve heard from Poland this year. It makes me want to hear more from them. I canít wait to see those guys live on stage!
[Read our Votum interview also].
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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