Location: Ramat HaSharon, Israel
Genre: Modern Progressive Metal
Released: July 9, 2014
Format Reviewed: mp3 (320 kbps)
Feature: Global Conquest – Upcoming Releases
Whenever I see a genre description of “modern progressive metal,” I tend to believe that what I’m about to hear turns into a bastardization of djent, which is already a bastardization of prog metal in and of itself. Luckily, my preconceptions were quickly proven wrong. In a nutshell, the sophomore effort from Distorted Harmony compares favorably to the likes of The Omega Experiment and Skyharbor.
Chain Reaction is full of variety and contains many standout moments. “Every Time She Smiles” and “Children Of Red,” the first two tracks, are among the best. The former contains a great melody that develops from a calm guitar-oriented intro, and has more riffs than I can describe in this space. The instrumental section before the first verse, as well as a keyboard break midway through, are stellar, and the chorus is, for lack of a better phrase and meant to be taken positively, highly catchy.
“Children Of Red” is a more aggressive track with monotonous vocals that work well with both the lyrics and the song’s overall sound. There are two samples, at least one of which is taken from the Communist Manifesto. Following the second sample comes the heaviest section of the album:
Fuck you and your sick ideology/
So wrong are your words of hypocrisy/
Taken a dream augmented reality/
For red is the colour of blood.
What follows is a fantastic riff, one of the best on the album, and then it takes an uplifting turn towards the end. The other track I consider to be among the elites on here is “Hollow,” with no relation whatsoever to the Pantera or Alice In Chains songs of the same name. Following a 45-second calm intro, it builds from there and contains a stellar guitar solo, the best on the album.
Out of the other tracks, the only one I can criticize with a negative lens is “Misguided,” which is too long for its own good and meanders off course. Nonetheless, it is still full of solid moments, with a short bass fill toward the end particularly standing out. Most of the following songs start rather slowly but pay off nicely in the end; “Nothing (But The Rain)” is a nice interlude that is unique in the sense that it builds up gradually. “As You Go” reminds me of “Where We Belong” by Devin Townsend; “As One” sounds like something from fellow Israeli prog metallers Orphaned Land that gets better as it goes along; and “Natural Selection” is also memorable for its ending, which starts with the final chorus. Album closer “Methylene Blue,” while being just a decent song, resembles the sound of Tool or A Perfect Circle and contains a brief but well-crafted guitar solo.
As a whole, Chain Reaction is a cohesive effort with well-written lyrics, solid production, and some excellent vocals. The touches of industrial effects and keyboards provide additional variety without dominating the overall sound of the record, a problem frequently seen in most modern progressive metal albums. The drumming, in particular, stands out for its technical prowess without controlling the album’s sound to such a degree that it would be considered unbalanced.
Overall: This album should put Distorted Harmony on the global landscape for modern prog metal bands. “Children Of Red” especially stands out as a must-listen.