Atmosfear - Zenith,
This is the third album from German prog metal outfit Atmosfear. They’re not exactly prolific as they have been around 15 years – but given that this was released nearly two years ago and I’m only just writing about it I’m hardly in a position to cast stones. The press release uses the word “soundscape” when discussing their style, and that is a great way of describing it. When people hear the term ‘prog metal’ they either think of crunching riffs combined with strong keyboards and vocals (a la Threshold) or a band that can do absolutely anything and get away with it as not only are they all virtuoso musicians but they keep coming back to hard rock/metal at least some of the time (Dream Theater – yes I know that is a vast under-representation for them but you get the drift). But, these guys have connections with but are totally different to both of those, and sit within the genre but in many ways are totally separate from it.
The band name was obviously chosen with some care, as this is extremely atmospheric metal and it has an edge that is much more than just the complexity of the instruments and the wonderfully clear vocals. Yes, there are parts that remind me somewhat of Savatage, but they are only sections in songs as opposed to complete pieces. I read one review on the web where they basically asked what on earth this band had been doing to get this far and not been picked up and praised by the prog scene and I know where he is coming from. This is progressive metal of the very highest quality, and anyone who enjoys melodic rock that is easy to listen to and full of hooks yet has a presence that takes it to a new level really ought to search this out.