Concordea – Over Wide Spaces (Self-Released)Tuesday, 13th June 2017
When background information regarding Russian act Concordea includes descriptive language of ‘anxious presentiment’ and ‘airy keyboard roulades’, rest assured the aim is high for developing their own take in their preferred genre of progressive power metal. Starting in 2012 and releasing an EP entitled Before the Sunrise in May 2014, the duo of guitarist Daria Piankova and keyboardist Aleksei Turetckov polished up material for their first full-length – adding a session vocalist and bassist for Over Wide Spaces. After a few spins, it’s obvious these musicians present potent compositions that have strong riffing and classical components available for flourishes, while remembering that melodic vocals and hooks are key for long-term cerebral retention.
Daria and Aleksei layer their main riffs with a sense of driving, tasteful urgency – propelling most instrumental sections for “Listen to the Snow” and “Between Two Worlds” with kinetic bursts while also maintaining smart transitions and circular returns, akin to 90’s-era Dream Theater or Threshold. The classical bombast for “Rejected and Avowed” contains everything from blast beats to symphonic choirs – while the power riffing glides in Lost Horizon splendor, although the persistent background vocals feel more thrash-like than necessary for a progressive power metal outing. Italian Felippo Tezza is the guest vocalist (from Chronosfear) – rising to the occasion as his multi-octave range never wavers, very Euro-centric in phrasing and personality right out of the gate on “Wings’ Motion”, while flexing more of his lower register during the moody closer “The Unknown”. Daria’s guitar tone overall gives Concordea modern appeal, the staccato aspects another difference maker for the jumpier “Confession of My Pride” as Aleksei serves up exotic breaks and spirited sprints/tradeoffs that elevate dynamic interest.
Another selling point for Concordea is their reliance upon shorter compositions to allow the ideas to sink in relatively quickly for the type of music on display. When most progressive/power metal groups expand thoughts into prolonged interplay combinations, Over Wide Spaces only exceeds the five-minute mark once, and finishes as if in a throwback vinyl release market place at under 40 minutes. An ideal album for those who love these two sub-genres and prefer the enjoyment of thoughtful hooks and melodies all rolled into one.