The Finnish progressive band Simulacrum has got the deal with Italian hard/AOR/prog-oriented music label Frontiers to release their third full-length album “Genesis” after seven years of silence. Adorning it with more symphonic elements and complicating the arrangements, these progressive lovers were able to achieve absolute harmony in the personal development of their own original sound.
For Simulacrum this year is really a significant period in the career of their long 20-year history of existence, “Genesis” has proved, that their mastery and complexed and detailed approach considerably increased. Maybe, they are not as melodic and sophisticated as sympho prog veterans Symphony X or as elaborately technical as progressive metal masters Dream Theater, well, but Simulacrum’s vigorous agility and classically trained imagination created delightful aura and unique vision of the mazes of the limitless musical journeys.
The passionate and playful rhythms follow the main line of “Genesis”, defining their mood without having a bit of darkness; this release is too positively smooth to diving into depressive state of mind. Balancing between the modern sounding and retro/AOR vibes Simulacrum stress out the importance of contemporary power/progressive metal flow and progressive rock traditional roots, peppering it with a refined tinge of classical music and symphonic epicness. Heavy metal structure is one of their favorite to outplay, but still there are some non-traditional swings, like southern folky parts (“Like You, Like Me”) or psychedelic/art/acid rock elements (“Scorched Earth”). The main emphasis is put on the keyboards; they are the ones responsible for all stylistic and moody shifts. From retro visions of prog rock of the previous century to technical power/prog modern kinky stuff, the essential value of orchestrations and synthesizers (performed by Christian Pulkkinen) acts as the creative catalyst. And the wide range of singing skills of their two vocalists (Niklas Broman and Erik Kraemer) totally fits in stylistic order of progressive music.
But the real creative mind is discovered during the last epic track “Genesis”, divided into four conceptual songs. Assembling the most original and progressive ideas into this musical masterpiece, Simulacrum have gained total control of their composing confidence. They bounce around between acoustic calmness of ballads (“Genesis Part 3: The Human Equation”) and messy technical multi-layered bravery (“Genesis Part 1: The Celestial Architect”), but linking all these songs together under the elusive wave of common idea. The lightness of pop rock sometimes transforms into heaviest parts of the album, and melancholic ambient and acoustic lines are being replaced by over-complicated prog fastness. And these changes aren’t too drastic or inappropriate, harmoniously blending in general spirit of this graceful record.
The philosophical and scientific lyrics also highlight the modern views of the band; even the cover art shows the importance of scholar approach, silencing the religious impact. They know how to make the best from their creative stylistic ideas and to combine them in holistic objet d’art. And considering the fact that Simulacrum didn’t descend themselves into complete experimentation, the sure steps to their uniqueness are really admirable.
Release date: February 11, 2021
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