Profusion has its roots in Italy where in 2002 drummer Vladimer Sichinava, keyboard player Gionatan Caradonna and bass player Marco Pieri started playing together. The band grew to a six member band on their debut album; One Piece Puzzle in 2006. After that album we had to wait for a successor for six years. Rewotower (2012, see review) introduced a brand new line up, leaving both Sichinava and Caradonna as remaining members and with a new bass player; Luca Cambi, guitarist Thomas Laguzzi and the new voice of Luca Latini, Profusion became a quintet. In the same line-up the album Phersu was recorded. Nevertheless the information on their website reveals a new bass player; Jury Maccianti and guitarist; Dave Pepi.
When Profusion added vocalist Luca Latini to their line-up, they did not go for the regular progressive rock and metal vocalist, but added Luca's pop history to their sound, in a way creating a sound that differs from other Italian bands. But still, if you start to listen to the album's opener; Snooze, you will find a voice that has similarities with DGM's vocalist Mark Basile, with indeed a sort of poppy touch to it. The roughness of this song does take you to the music of the aforementioned Italian progmetallers, only Profusion is much more focussed on the keyboard element, a very strong and interesting opener though. Continuing with Free Fall, the powerful guitars remain and here the focus seems to have shifted towards the strong vocal lines of Luca; poppy or not, this guy has an incredible voice that really suits to the music. Forgetful Hero is a beautiful piano laden song, filled with emotional vocals, a strong powerful midsection that marks the jazzy fusion part in the band name. Three strikes so far. The song Wrinkled Maiden is something different, you might have seen it on YouTube already, but I have to warn the listeners who only have seen this one, Wrinkled Maiden is not representative for the whole album, the addition of opera vocalist Anita Rachvelishvilli certainly takes this composition in a quite different direction, I like the song, but on the other hand I think this one doesn't quite fit on the album. Nomen is different as well. By adding accordion and tribal vocals to the music the folk kind of elements from the band are emphasized. However the strong guitar parts and keyboards take you back to the atmosphere of the first two compositions on the album. Infinite combines the jazzy guitar lines with piano and smooth vocals into a progressive rock meets jazz session added with soulful vocals. Masquerade has nice haunted vocals in a progressive rock setting with an undertone of fusion and jazz; nice! Returning to the smoother side of Phersu is Veteran, highlighting the piano again, accompanied with great electric guitar playing. Vanity Fair has a nice bombastic, theatrical feeling, reminding me a bit of the Swedish band A.C.T.. For the final tune Forbidden, we find a song that could be played on any radio station, focussing on piano and a simple voice, this is the poppiest song by far; not bad, but I would have liked to end the album with a bang.
Phersu is a perfect album, combining progressive rock music with jazzy and poppy elements, some of the compositions are simply amazing, some of them I do have my doubts if they really fit on the album, but over all a very pleasant session to listen to.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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