Persefone – metanoia [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

I vaguely recall the cover art and Ferrous‘s in-depth review of Persefone’s 2017’s album Aathma. However, for whatever reason, the long-running Andorran outfit eluded me, until stumbling upon their sixth LP, metanoia. After extensive experience digesting the weighty material comprising metanoia, I have much catching up to do. Persefone create muscular, complex and bombastic progressive metal, bolstered by an aggressive melodeath core, soaring melodicism, and a darkly, emotive edge, solidifying the strength and impact of each richly detailed composition.

Right off the bat, metanoia is a weighty listening experience that demands your undivided attention and repeat listens to fully unlock the album’s many intricacies and textures. metanoia is lengthy and so densely packed that initial listens are both absorbing and overwhelming. However, metanoia’s quality presented from the earliest spins and its impact has grown in stature as the year marched on, especially considering its February release date. metanoia’s lush, cinematic scope and dramatic soundscapes, such as those featured on the soundtrack-esque “Leap of Faith,” certainly sound grand, yet rather than dip into cheesier territory, Persefone’s craftmanship, and melancholic tone of the material, lends the album an emotional depth to balance out the dramatic flair.

An accomplished and experienced unit, Persefone ooze confidence and chemistry, reflective throughout the album’s fluid journey, precision delivery, and excellent musicianship, with various guest spots serving to enhance the album, rather than convolute. Leprous frontman Einar Solberg helps set the album in motion with a sparsely backed vocal-dominated intro piece, his soaring melodramatic cleans providing a haunting beginning to proceedings. However, the first real heavyweight tune comes in the shape of the storming “Katabasis,” showcasing the band’s multi-faceted qualities, a dizzying mix of complexity, shimmering melody, stuttering grooves, and robust melodeath surges, adorned with washes of atmospheric keys to compliment the chunky, complex axe attack, and expressive, busy rhythm section.

Persefone play prog metal with serious fucking teeth, ensuring the brighter, airier moments, playful melodic passages and lush production values, are skillfully counterbalanced by the beefier tones, aggressive riffage and percussive battery, and wide-ranging, harsher vocal turns of frontman Marc Martins Pia. The versatility, bold arrangements and jaw-dropping musicianship stimulates the senses and captures the unpredictable nature of the music. However, amidst the gloomy vibes and tricky instrumental flair, the playful nature and engrossing hooks elevate the songs into ‘must listen’ territory. The jazz-infected melo-prog of “Aware of Being Watched” dazzles with rich instrumental chemistry and stunning vocal hooks, “Merkabah” is equal parts bruising heft and gorgeous melody, while lengthy, action-packed epics, “Consciousness (Pt.3),” and the guest-heavy “Anabasis (Pt. 2),” perfectly encapsulate Persefone’s dynamic thrust and ear-catching songcraft.

metanoia has given me a hell of a good reason to invest in Persefone’s significant prior body of work, though after being captivated and blown away by the beguiling charms, instrumental tour de force and songwriting strengths of metanoia, this latest opus will be a hard act to top. There was no shortage of top-shelf progressive metal platters to indulge in during 2022, however, Persefone’s metanoia arguably represents the cream of the crop.

Tracks to Check Out: “Katabasis,” “Merkabah,” “Consciousness (Pt.3),” “Anabasis (Pt. 2)”

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