Although Effloresce has been around for a few years now, this German progressive metal act built up a consistent line-up in 2009 and the same year they recorded this three-tracks EP called Shades of Fate. First of all, I should note that Effloresce works as a female-fronted quintet, led by vocalist and flutist Nicki (no last name given).
As the main influences, the band lists likes such Opeth, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, as well as Epica and Disillusion comes as pretty accurate, considering that progressive metal today became a generic product with non-easily cognizable differences.
But with the Shades of Fate EP, there is still even a little spark of hope that the genre is not lost (yet). Nicki’s vocals teamed up with the rest of the band’s well developed progression appear to be a significant factor for reawakening on the scene.
Bird of Prey opens with a pretty raw riff, which is in some weird way reminiscent of so called black metal raw (grim) sound. But do not fear, a few seconds after that you get what you are looking for. One can certainly hear Opeth and Dream Theater in the track structure with the dominant vocals of Nicki constructing a sound pattern for something more than 11 minutes. An atmospheric line around the sixth minute of the song is a good separation point between the Opeth/DT vibe and the closing part illuminated with very nice mellow flutework. Mastefully done guitar soloing from the Dave / Tim duo sets the track conclusion at a calmer pace.
Sear follows, which sounds almost like an outtake from Opeth’s Blackwater Park, but still different and diverse in arrangements. One could say that female vocals (clean) do not go together with an Opeth-like style, but you would certainly change your mind after listening to Effloresce. Even though, I have to mention that Nicki is not afraid to provide some growlwork when the track requires it, so you have your wishes fulfilled. The acoustic passage in the second half followed by calming guitar solo is a highlight of the song. Fairy clean vocals come up as an antithesis to what other guys do and this particular segment should be much more used in the future. And hopefully it will, as the band is currently working on their full-lentgh album.
The beginning of Sunset in the Snowdome sounds almost like the soundtrack of a fairytale with its fancy flutework, but the image breaks after the guys kick in. Comparing to the previous two tracks, Sunset is not AS heavy as the previous two, but heavy enough to be included. The song relies much more on rhythmic work and there are plenty of rhythm changes. I have to praise the use of organs throughout the whole record, but especially on this closing piece.
All in all, having released Shades of Fate, Effloresce shows talent and skill which will, I am sure, be emphasized on their full-length album, set to be released later this year or at the beginning of 2011. Until that time, check the links below and listen to Shades of Fate.
01. Bird of Prey
03. Sunset in the Snowdome
* Nicki - vocals, flute
* Dave – guitar, mellotron/keyboards
* Tim – guitar
* Tobi – drums
* Rene – bass