Virtual Symmetry is a real discovery for the fans of classical, but not ordinary progressive metal. They are aesthetes and philosophers because all their music is soaked with a sophisticated spirit and refined melodies. This year the Swiss-Italian band Virtual Symmetry has released the second album “Exoverse” by itself, and it is not less epic than the debut album, but more complex and refined.
The band was formed by the guitarist Valerio Æsir Villa as his solo project, but in 2012 he recruited the regular line-up, and it stays the same till now (except for the drummer Alfonso Mocerino, who plays in the band from 2019). But only after few years with the stable line-up the band of Valerio has released its first single, and so far, Virtual Symmetry encourages the fans with a new record every year (whether it be EP, Live or Full-length album). They chose to release their music without the help of the musical labels, so they don’t get a proper promotion. However, their name is highly valued on the progressive metal scene, and even on this record they collaborate with the musicians from the bands Dream Theater or Evergrey. So, no doubt, that the music of Virtual Symmetry isn’t just professionally performed, it is also original.
“Exoverse” is the conceptual album, which tells the story of a hero, who travels to the new dimension in order to discover himself. The cover art stresses this theme, showing the travelling hero before the portal to the unknown world amidst the science fiction decorations (the band is fond of science fiction). The album is very long (1:15), but not too tiresome, on the contrary, the listener dives in this philosophical journey, absorbing the number of sophisticated sensations throughout the listening. “Exoverse” isn’t just highly technical and precise, it is also airy and delicate, filled with traditional progressive metal/rock (closer to Dream Theater), as well as a classical music.
The songs are diverse, characterised with a frequent change of mood, except for the nostalgic ballad “Odyssey” with a pop-like attitude. As well as emotional “Remember”, it is more mainstream, but still full of surprises, like the use of saxophone or female vocals to increase the atmospheric feeling. The classical music is everywhere on this record, it is the second foundation after the progressive metal, but still the classical elements are introduced very carefully. The rhythm section is solid and strong, but it is slightly overshadowed by original kinks of guitar parts of Valerio, especially during his big solo moments. But the song “Safe” has the strongest guitar riffs, and it is the most positive and jolly song on this record. Several songs have long introductions (“XI”, “Exodus”, “Exoverse Suite”, but “Entropia” is fully instrumental), and all these intros form the spirit of the songs, some more romantic, some more pensive, and some more refined.
Marco Postarino has a high-pitched and very articulated voice, suitable to some progressive/power metal band. His voice isn’t flat or shallow, it brilliantly conveys all the required emotions to empathize with a hero of this conceptual album. The clear sound, recorded on the Peter Gabriel’s studio Real World Studios In UK, allows to enjoy every instrument separately. The guest singer of Evergrey Tom Englund adorns the song “Exodus” with his recognisable husky voice in a duet with Marco. But the female voice in the background creates more mysterious atmosphere in songs “Vortex”, “Exodus”, “Remember” (thanks to Jennifer Vargas) and “Exoverse Suite”, but on the last epic suite the gospel chorus of The Nuvoices Project adds some extra religiousness to this record. But Sinfonietta Consonus is responsible for all the orchestral arrangements (except two most mainstream songs). The keyboardist Mark Bravi has a lot of freedom on “Exoverse” – from the modern metal sound to retro art/progressive art of the 70s, and from classical piano passages to ambient and cosmic soundscapes. There are even the psychedelic elements (on the song “Vortex”), but the last song “Exoverse Suite” sporadically turns on the path of avant-garde with all its variability and non-standard moves.
Virtual Symmetry isn’t afraid to experiment and to search for something new, its music is lively and genuine, despite the high technicality. But it is also too complicated to conquer the mainstream scene, but regardless, the band has a perfect reputation among the fellow prog bands and musicians. This music is diverse and vibrant, with a lot of extraordinary solutions, and it will be able to satisfy every aesthete, which strikes to view the real art in the music.
Release date: June 30th, 2020
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