Persefone // Spiritual Migration 
Rating: 3.5/5.0 — A successful follow-up to a brilliant record is often more difficult than writing the brilliant record in the first place
Label: ViciSolum Productions
Websites: persefone.com | facebook.com/persefoneband
Release Dates: EU: 2013.03.26 | US: 04.02.2013

Persefone - Spiritual Migration - ArtworkPersefone is in a bit of a strange position; a darling of the underground progressive metal scene, while still not being particularly well known. Formed in 2003, these Andorran prog metallers have a sound deeply influenced by the ’90s melodeath, progressive black and prog scenes including OpethBorknagarArcturus and Symphony X. In 2004 they released their debut record Truth inside the Shades and followed up quickly in 2006 with the epic Core. But it wasn’t until 2009 when Persefone blew the world of progressive metal up with Shin-Ken. The record was long, in-depth and gripping — with a unique sound palette that still hit home with metal fans. Technical, sprawling and unique Shin-Ken set the bar for Persefone tremendously high.

Persefone still paint a compelling picture with their songwriting – which on Spiritual Migration runs the gamut from newly introduced djent strains to Symphony X-style guitar wizardry on “Consciousness (Part II): A Path to Enlightenment” to melo prog rock on “Zazen Meditation” to techy death on “Upward Explosion.” Spiritual Migration is meant to be heard as a whole, with every note in its place and a record that flows from the very first second to the last. Everything is pre-meditated, beautifully constructed and well thought out, but this pushes the record to a remarkably long 66 minutes.

Persefone 2013 - WebA 66 minute record needs to be outstanding to be entertaining for its entire length, and Spiritual Migration‘s greatest weakness is that the record is written as a progression. While the first half is a meaty blend of Symphony X meets The Black Dahlia Murder and Arsis, the latter part of the record wanders into techy death and too much Meshuggah chug. This combination of album length, Marc Martin’s new vocal approach which sounds a lot more core than death metal and djenty chug – a thing I don’t find to be particularly stimulating – makes the second half of the record hard to get through at times. The pacing simply drags, my eyes feel heavy and I want to go back and listen to “The Majestic Gaia” or “Consciousness (Part II)” again.

Despite this, I can’t help but be impressed with Spiritual Migration‘s construction as an album. The record starts out with one sound — more akin to Shink-Ken and Core — and develops into a Meshuggah-chug record that will please the djentlemen among us during the story’s apparent climax. After reaching the two part “Consciousness” tracks, the album veers between tracks 8 (“Inner Fullness”) and 11 (“Spiritual Migration”) to a much more tech-death + djent approach, before veering back around to the more progressive melodeath sound the band has really perfected. “Returning to the Source” is a fitting name, and the piano outro leaves the listener with a sense of peace. It is a structure that works, in spite of my Angry Metal Attention Deficit Disorder, and that is commendable for its attempt to tell a story as much with the music as with the lyrics.

It is precisely this intellectual approach to song-writing and album craft that keeps me coming back to Spiritual Migration and to Persefone as a band. So many records are just combinations of songs thrown together, but these Andorran proggers aren’t ready to settle for anything less than art. Because of this vision I keep returning to Spiritual Migration and it keeps growing on me. I am stunned by the riffing and playing in certain places, I am impressed with the mix and the writing in other places, and even on the back end I try to let myself suck in the experience for what it is. Spiritual Migration is a meditation on what metal can be – give it 70 minutes and see if you reach oneness with Persefone‘s creative vision.

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  • This is definitely an album that takes a few listens to pick out what’s going on. At first spin, some tracks just didn’t resonate well, some of the off-beat rhythms were a bit too … well, off. But after a good 5-6 times through it, you can hear what they’re trying to do. I just wonder if they’re not trying too hard, because Shin-Ken was beautiful, and while this album certainly impresses me, it’s doing so in a different way.

    • It definitely took some getting used to for me. I really still have some issues with the back end, but they’re such a damned good band..

  • smmarx

    LOVED Shin-Ken. I’m sure with its “faults” I’ll still enjoy this album immensely.

  • Damn, i pretty much predicted that this album was going to get reviewed at AMG when i saw it at realm of metal, should have made a bet or something

  • ‘Angry Metal Attention Deficit Disorder’. Yes. That’s what I’ll call my attention span now(or lack thereof).

    Another awesome new band to check out, thanks AMG!

  • I don’t hear much of the djent palm mute sound on this album so much as a polyrhythmic approach. And despite the almost “core” styled vocals I like this release ok.

  • Mike_Callavaro

    The record feels overproduced. There is too much going on in most tracks which makes it chaotic and too incoherent IMO. If they toned it down a notch it would make for a better record. As it stands now I´d give it 2,5…

  • Eryops

    Come on! April first and we don’t have Amaranthe as the Record of the Month? You guys missed a golden opportunity here!

    • Eryops

      Whoops. This should have been posted in the RotM page….

  • Colin Stuart

    Shin-Ken is awesome, but I think I like this release even more. I’m a fan of the new vocal approach and really love the instrumental sections. Great incorporation of electronic elements. This has taken over In Vain’s album for the time being and is on near constant loop.

  • Wow! All I can say is that I am glad I found this website, cause so far I’ve been turned onto so many great new bands that I most likely wouldnt have had a chance to hear.

    At first listen, the vocals on this disc really seemed anti what I’ve come to expect from a highly prog album, but its quickly growing on me.

    On a side note, what the heck is ‘djent’? I looked it up on the Oracle of all Internet Knowledge (aka Wikipedia) and it refers to crunching guitars stylized like Meshuggah, and I don’t know if my speakers are blown, but I dont hear Meshuggah at all in Persefone.

    Prog metal is one genre that when done right is amazing, but is very easy to overdo. Over the years, so many talented bands have fallen into the “musical masturbation” trap of overdoing it on every track, and the thing I love about this album, is just when you think you’re about to get a multi-tracked keyboard/guitar solo, the music changes into something else.

    For anyone who is bored with prog metal and doesn’t understand what ‘djent’ is, its OK, this album is awesome! Buy it! :)

    • Djent is a term that can mean a number of different things. I hear some Meshuggah here, but mostly what I hear are the other bands in the scene that aren’t Meshuggah that like them very much. I’m not over critical of Persefone’s desire to head down this road, but I do think the style is pretty boring as a whole. The last half of this record drags because of it, but on the other hand it feels consistent with the image of the album.

      Glad you continue to find stuff you love here, dude.

    • Djent is a term that can mean a number of different things. I hear some Meshuggah here, but mostly what I hear are the other bands in the scene that aren’t Meshuggah that like them very much. I’m not over critical of Persefone’s desire to head down this road, but I do think the style is pretty boring as a whole. The last half of this record drags because of it, but on the other hand it feels consistent with the image of the album.

      Glad you continue to find stuff you love here, dude.

  • Kyle McDonald

    I have spent the last two days listening to these Persefone folks, and I gotta say that they are pretty sweet. Thanks for turning me on to these guys, AMG.

  • Thanks for the review. I had not heard of these guys before this, but Spotify has this as well as their previous two albums. This is a reall, really good band! I think I prefer the previous album (Shin-Ken) to this one but I still find myself coming back to this one as well.

    Who knew Andorra had any metal bands??

    • Sebastián

      There’s another band called Nami :)

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