CD Reviews

Methodica - 'Searching For Reflections' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 15, 2011    
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Album from the Italian five piece.

If you put together a band with the intention of producing gripping, intense progressive/neo metal, then one word I doubt you would use to describe it is methodical, so whoever though that it was a good idea for this Italian five piece to call themselves Methodica needs to stand in the corner and hang their head in shame. So with that out of the way, what of the music that this debut album, which was originally released in Italy back in 2009, before being given a wider distribution by Underground Symphony? Well I'm pleased to say that there certainly is "method" to 'Searching For Reflections', but to describe it as "straight forward, careful and ordered", would be to do the soaring keyboards, stinging guitars and passionate vocals on this album a complete disservice. I'm not going to suggest that Methodica reinvent the prog metal wheel here, but their full on delivery and undoubted ability to write big, brash, memorable songs with complex themes and skilled musicianship means that this blend of Arena like neo-prog and more straight forward progressive metal is never dull.

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Excluding the brief piano and vocal interlude that is 'Heavenland (Marble Column pt. 1)' the shortest song on this album clocks in at just under nine minutes, which should let you know that Methodica are not a band for short, sharp fixes. Instead the other six tracks on 'Searching For Reflections' are made up of meandering, but never pointless sections that merge and mould into coherent songs, with themes being brought to the fore on numerous occasions, to hook you back into the ever shifting sounds. The guitar of Marco Ciscato bites and snarls its way through songs like 'The Marble Column' and 'Machine', being offset by the unfettered keyboard melodies courtesy of Marco Baschera, who is a star across this whole album. Vocally Massimo Piubelli brings a variety of influences to his style, with flashes of everyone from Geddy Lee (Rush) and Matt Bellamy (Muse) to Rob Sowden (Arena) and James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers) springing to mind at different points on this disc. That may sound like an unusual mix, but what you can be assured of is that Piubelli possesses a richly melodic voice with bags of character and the ability to be as convincing belting out the words to 'Neon', as he is reining things in on the softer passages of 'Ghosts'. Rather pleasingly the rhythm section of Alessandro Brusco on bass and drummer Marco Piccoli keep things pretty straight forward, and while they do contain the chops to add little punches of colour, both keep themselves in check for the most part, allowing the songs to flourish in a more organic manner than many prog metal acts.

The standout tracks on the album are the beautifully paced build of 'Presentiments' and the ever changing 'Nail In My Hand', but in truth all the songs on this album stand up to repeated listens. It may be two years old, but to hear a band use familiar prog themes to come up with something reasonably fresh is heartening to say the least, and worthy of your attention.

Steven Reid

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