Adeia- Hourglass

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Adeia’s debut album Hourglass technically came out last year, but it received a wider release last month thanks to Layered Reality Productions. While the group may have the progressive metal tag, they don’t subscribe to the stereotypical Euro-prog metal framework that seems far too common right now. Rather than only focusing on dizzying technicality for an entire release Adeia focuses more on strong and varied ideas that are tied together in a fluid manner, and this helps their debut to come off as one of the more interesting releases I’ve come across in recent months.

Classical violinist Laura ten Voorde is a founding member of the group, and this gives their material a slightly different sound right from the beginning. Even when the band heads into heavier distorted riffs the string instruments are still prevalent which help to give a bit of an avant-garde flair at times. What listeners will likely find the most interesting is how different each of the five numbers is, as Adeia pulls in more influences than your average progressive metal band. One of the best examples of this is the shortest number “Providence” which begins with a build-up that sounds like it’s going to go right into high-flying keyboard prog but then suddenly transitions into a mid-tempo riff that feels like it was ripped right out of the glory days of heavy metal. From there the group goes into some mellower sections, but keeps coming back to this driving riff. The longer tracks have these same kind of stylistic shifts, touching upon technical and mellow, laid back arrangements that have as much in common with prog rock as they do with metal. Hourglass is consistently engaging, as each of the ideas flows perfectly into the next and no matter where the instrumentalists head they are able to maintain a level of writing that grabs listeners and makes them excited to see what comes next.

Franc Timmerman handles both clean vocals and harsher growls, and like some of the better vocalists that handle these types of ranges he is able to move between the two without coming off as strained or off pitch. The harsher growls were a nice surprise, as the first half of opener “Codyceps” had me anticipating a dominant clean performance but it quickly became clear that there was an almost equal balance between the two. Timmerman’s low ranges reminded me quite a bit of Mikael Åkerfeldt, as there was that same kind of fullness and intensity to his growls. But the cleaner pitches work quite well too, and Laura ten Voorde provides some singing as well to add harmony to key moments. I did notice a couple moments where Timmerman’s voice seemed just a tad bit off (at least to my ears), but whenever this occurred he seemed to recover quickly and return to a stronger level.

Hourglass is really impressive, and each of its five arrangements had me captivated for their entirety. Adeia pulls from some of the traditional progressive metal framework, but adds in additional avant-garde elements along with heavy metal and older progressive rock. There’s a perfect blend of mellow and heavy, and both sides are seamlessly integrated to ensure that the material doesn’t feel disjointed. Fans of any of the variants of this style will want to check this one out for sure, and since some of this material originally dates back to 2011 I’m hoping that even more music from this group might already be in the works.

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