Last July the new modern progressive metal band from Greece Spektrvm has released their debut album Blood for Heaven via Sliptrick Records. Based on the classic traditions of heavy metal, seasoned with prog-rock finesse and groove straightforwardness, their first creation commence the journey through diverse musical directions with holistic and relevant perception.
These young Greeks hail from the small coastal town of Perama (actually, Perama is a part of urban area of Athens), howbeit there is nothing Greek in their music on the surface, but if we dig a little bit deeper, there can be traced some kind of ethnic influence. Meanwhile, their main goal is focused on the expression of traditional hard rock/heavy metal ideas through modern sound and melodic artistry. And with a good balance between these musical genres, Blood for Heaven flows harmoniously on, showing not only polished technical side and professionality, but also denuding the softer side, making this album more spiritual and lively. And with juicy sound all the progressive details are surreptitiously covered under the layer of alt. rock’s unambiguousness.
And this is certainly a conscious step, since Spektrvm are more bothered by catchiness of the melodies and potency of energetic impulses. However, their roots are not just dipped in classic rock’s spirit; these roots are profound and entangled, they are alive, and their presence is quite palpable even during the grooviest parts.
Blood for Heaven isn’t about surprises or attempts to prove the uniqueness, this release is more about how to find a perfect equipoise between technical and practical vs sentimental and passionate side. The goal is to make every song not only in accordance with all the technical and canonical requirements of the genre, but also emotionally attractive, to add a bit of personality to every song. So, the progressive side is quite simple here, maybe a little bit restricted and located to the background, but nevertheless it is ubiquitous, impregnating the spirit of Blood for Heaven with assertive certainty. But flirtations with the modern side sometimes tilt into the controversial domain of mainstream – leisurely, furtively and unobtrusively, without clear intentions to conquer this overcrowded and criticized area of musical stardom.
The main focus is on guitar riffs – luscious, memorable and vigorous, but also quite simple and sturdy. Guitar chords indicate the general direction, tinting every composition with a chosen energetic path – from structurally accurate and progressively cohesive to melancholically dreamy or atmospherically moody. And modern energy confidently spreads the wings towards alternative or post-grunge zone, emphasizing the strategical significance of groove metal. And that’s rather seems unintentional. As well as fortuitous dalliance with common heavy metal rules, when hard rock’s foundation breaks all the modern vibes and progressive fluids. This is especially noticeable during the slowest songs like “Trying to breathe” or the last “Rotten World”. Almost like ballads, but still with overly strong groove core to entirely dissolve into the dominion of hard rock.
In alliance with acoustic passages comes a slightly romantic mood with nostalgic and tranquil shades, but without tearful attitude of solemn melancholy (“Leviathan”). “Without Borders” allures on something oriental, offering ethnic structural patterns, never turning back on progressive foundation. The first moody and atmospheric “Gift of Oizys” fairly enough emanates the miserable and depressive feelings, giving homage to this Greek goddess of grief. “Blood for Heaven” and “Rainfire” are decent examples of melodic groove metal that would be ideally suited to post-grunge/alternative rock. The same can be applied to the vocals of their singer Thanos Zabetakis; his hoarse, emotional but still forceful voice has some modern flair, as well as old school roughness. And all this modern vs traditional fight occurs against the background of progressive prowess – and without dissonant messiness, imparting harmonious integrity to the common sound of this album.
Blood for Heaven is based on the topics of permissiveness and overindulgence, transmitting ideas of the malicious deeds committed in the name of a higher power, and with an afterthought of a reward after death. But that’s an illusion; every vicious act will be eventually balanced. These topics are also represented through the grey & red artwork, indicating mental disorders, regrets and fears. You have to be realistic and fully conscious of the consequences of your own deeds and stay true to yourself. Like guys from Spektrvm that presented high-quality material filled with sincerity and good balance between classical and contemporary.
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