In my last blog posts about music, I spoke about instrumental metal and my own band Chaos in Spring in detail. This time I wanted to review three bands that have shaped my taste in music. The posts are as follows: SHOKRAN review, Persefone review, and Dir en grey review – three bands that I just can not stop listening to. I will do it in three posts over three days. This is the second post and it is about Persefone.
Persefone Review- Prog Metal From Andorra
The next band in the Holy Trinity series is one that truly does create a journey with every single song and album. A Journey of progressive metal and a progression of a band in itself. If you have time, please listen to their albums as a whole to truly experience the journey.
Their inward-looking lyrics are well-written. The technical death metal brutality with the darker sounds and harsh vocals are accompanied by beautiful melodies. The contradicting compositions may not be easy to get used to at first but please give them a chance. Together with the soothing clean vocals and insane keyboards by Miguel Espinosa Ortiz they create such art, that is unique to the band.
My first album by them was “Shin-Ken” though their next album “Spiritual Migration” was already out.
It was my boyfriend who introduced me to them. Since he is a musician himself, he looks up to this band a lot. I remember it was just a few weeks after we started dating that we were laying on the floor and listening to music together when he spun the record.
I have also been on their “Aathma” tour and saw them in Hamburg. We slept at the airport in Poland because there were no straight flights. In all seriousness. I would do it all over again because it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. The feeling was amazing and the singer came off the stage to mosh with us and I was happy like a little kid.
I also must say that their album art is truly beautiful. I own three of their vinyl records (“Truth Inside the Shades”, “Spiritual Migration”, and “Metanoia”) and they are easily my most priced possessions. Am still looking to get the missing “Aathma” vinyl that I just didn’t get at the right time.
“Truth Inside the Shades”
(2004) which was rerecorded in 2020 for their 15th anniversary (the Vinyl which only has 300 copies worldwide and has a poster with the names of their Patreon members).
On the reissue, the vocals of Marc Martins Pia give the album a whole new perspective. The album is beautifully dramatic. From the keyboards (listen to the intro alone) to the vocals and the guitars. It can be seen as complex and it has elements of Melodic Metal, Progressive Metal, Black Metal, Symphonic Metal, and Death Metal.
The new and the old are brought together in a way that feels like a journey into their older work. While still remaining familiar compared to their newer releases. In my opinion, it is the darkest record that Persefone has ever made.
(2006) is their second masterwork and it also has a remastered version. It is poetry with music. The album which is 70 minutes long consists of three songs that tell the story of Persephone – the Greek Mythological queen of death.
Persephone was kidnapped by Hades who fell in love with her and took her to the underworld. There he made her his wife. It is told that even though her unhappiness, in time she began to love Hades back.
By tradition, it was prohibited to speak her name.
Her common name is Kore (Core pr. Kore – daughter in Greek). She is also called the daughter of Zeus and Styx in the Orphic tradition, rather than Demeters’.
“Sanctuary” is written from the perspective of Mother Demeter – Olympian Goddess of harvest and agriculture. It has four acts and is a well-told story filled with desperation, rage, and sadness in trying to find her daughter.
“Underworld” is written from the perspective of Hades – the God of the dead and the King of the underworld. The song also has four acts and is the evilest and dark-sounding song out of the three.
“Seed” is written from the perspective of Persephone. It has five acts and is very melancholic and depicts the change in her.
The album has all the elements of Persefone that I love so much: Technical Complexity that still retains emotion, the speedy guitars, and keyboards contrasted by the beautiful melodies, the contrast of the vocals, and flawless transitions.
(2009) it just swept me off my feet for it was my first album from them. As the name already suggests it is heavily influenced by oriental tunes going as far as using Japanese sitar. The Japanese ambiance is intertwined with the most technical and heavy stuff. The contrast is once again – jaw-droppingly well-constructed.
The graceful and charming accent of Miguel in the calmest of clean vocals that I have ever heard is yet again accompanied by the heavy and harsher – that of Marcs’ death growls and pitched screaming. The seamless transitions that may sound harsh on the paper are sublime.
It is inspired by the life of a Samurai, their worship of honour, rage, and death itself. Listening to this album is a full experience. I remember laying on my bed and just listening to it from start to finish on repeat. It is relaxing and truly gorgeous. Please listen to this album if you have time.
(2013) it was a spiritual journey for me and this album was the one that after I was done with the previous one just kept playing. For me, it was love at the first note. It felt as if I had been searching for such a band and finally found it. I was like a sponge trying to take everything in and it is one of those albums that always makes me feel good.
It starts off with the same vibes that resemble “Shin-Ken” which had a slight hint of where the band was heading (being a concept album). But nothing could have prepared me for this. Listening to it is a whole meditation. It transcends to a new level of djenty chugs and heaviness that I have come to appreciate in music.
The way those virtuosos have constructed the whole album might be off-putting at first to many listeners. Not because the songs are bad but more so because of their nature.
It is loaded with rhythmic and melodic complexities and the amount of information in a minute is just too vast to comprehend. The many elements from shredded keyboards and guitars and their dueling, symphonic elements, calm parts before the storms, and their fast-paced changes (“Mind as Universe”, “the Great Reality” to “Zazen Meditation”, and “the Majestic of Gaia” for example if you want to hear for yourselves) make it a difficult album to digest at first.
It certainly is an album that needs some getting used to at first and a few listens. Please take your time with it.
I think the instrumental ones are an easy start for those who are not accustomed to heavy vocals or metal in general. – Listen to the “Zazen Meditation” and Consciousness part I and II, then tell me they are not majestic… I will bite you.
(2017) I remember waiting for this album to release like a little kid that waits for Christmas and presents. I was so hyped for this one that I cried when I first heard it. I remember when the video for “Living Waves” came I was nailed to the screen.
Aathma (the Soul) is no different from the last album in the sense of contrast, beauty, and complexity. With almost classical sensibility and layers upon layers in lengthy songs, I think that many prog fans could appreciate this album as a whole. It is a journey of finding oneself, it demands you to look within.
The use of ambient piano parts on this album is more prevalent and it puts a big emphasis on atmosphere. They are not the same albums, they are sisters, and it is completely fine. It is what is to be expected and I truly appreciate this one just as much as the last two.
With its weird, almost out-of-place autotuned vocals in the intro, it is to this day one of my favorite songs and when they played it live I screamed from excitement from the first few notes played. Please check it out, it makes the kid in me jump up and down and the fangirl in me squeal.
(2022) me and my boyfriend were both anticipating for this one to drop as if it was the most important event of our lives. Forget marriage, forget kids, it is when Persefone releases a new album that we celebrate.
It is a continuation of the last two albums and listening to them all one after another really makes you feel that.
There is also “Consciousness pt. III” on the album that takes you back to the “Spiritual Migration”. I also found myself liking the lyrics and the whole composition for the “Architecture of I”.
This whole album reminded me why I love this band so much, it is not just because these are very skilled musicians and the astonishing compositions but how they make me feel.
A Few Songs to Check Out if You Didn’t Before
If you haven’t yet checked out the songs I named before, here are two songs that I think would be an amazing start.
“Shin-Ken part II”
From “Shin-Ken” – this one is lyrically and musically so beautiful that it made me shed tears of joy when I heard it.
It is a calm song that showcases well how beautiful this band can be – a ballad in the style of Persefone. It is a poem. And poets love poems. The song is followed by “Japanese Poem” on the album and if you have made it to this song and realized how well the songs tie together… Why not listen to the full album?
Features violins and vocals by Tim Charles from Ne’Obliviscaris – a really great band from Australia. When he comes on I just melt, I think Persefone and Tim go together like me and my passion for music.
The whole song takes me through a wide arrange of love that seems to overfill me. I am a teacup and I can’t hold it all in so it becomes this puddle that wants to drown this song. The lyrics, the tension building, the culmination, the vocals. My God, it is like getting drunk on the best wine – and I love wine! It also has an official lyric video on YouTube – please watch it if you have time, it really is a journey.