Esperfall are a melodic progressive metal band from Hungary. They formed in 2016, have released two E.P.’s (‘A Leap Of Faith’ in 2018 and ‘The Leaf Legacy’ in 2019) and now comes their debut album ‘Act I – Origins In Darkness’.
And here, in full, is their deep concept for the album:
The album presents the initial phase of the human soul’s journey as it forces itself to face its inner demons. As with every dark phase in our lives, this state is the starting point of a deep, spiritual journey and self-discovery. Every song is an echo of a major emotional issue vocalized with self-criticism, doubt and fear, fueled with anger and disbelief, oftentimes directed towards our society. These are the battles we have to face in our everyday lives.
This journey and process comes with the inevitable act of turning inward, diving deeper and deeper into our own souls, rediscovering ourselves and coping with part of ourselves we don’t want to pay attention to, or want to deny. The album is the invocation of every listener’s hidden emotional or mental answers to every question they were never brave enough to ask and everything they don’t want to think about.
To the person who undertakes this spiritual journey it feels like the dissection of soul. Some diseases and disorders — physical or mental — are created, manifested by ourselves. This statement is the core message of the myriad of emotions the album is pondering upon.
A brief atmospheric piece precedes ‘Tempest In Paradise (The First Advent)’, their first single (do singles really have a place in society these days? I digress…..). Lead singer Nora “Nonee Darkling” Sima puts in an excellent performance on this classic melodic power metal gallop, and this album is only the start for her vocal range and style btw. Nice twin guitars, thundering drums, the band are clearly driven, have a clear intent, and this is them setting their stall out.
‘Retreat Into Dreamland’ is another full on melodic power drive, drums going into hyperdrive, and a first (for me) as Sima growls her way through this. I thought only blokes could do that? And yet, later in the song she is joined in harsh vocalising by bass player Peter Wachal. Not my cuppa, but it takes all sorts, and there is a call (or growl) for this kind of thing.
‘Plato’s Cave’ makes me think of this as a definitive sound of European symphonic power prog metal, if there is such a genre. Definitely melodic, superbly clean, it is yet another galloping slab with light vocals, incisive guitar work and tight rhythm section. ‘Nature Of The Disease (The Second Advent)’ maintains the speed, adds a bit of aggression, and features more of those harsh vocals, the guitars adding a bit of bite and thrash.
‘Don’t Leave Me Behind’ reduces the BPM and focuses on the melodic side, Sima’s vocals soaring over something akin to a metallic power ballad. ‘No Tomorrow (The Third Advent)’ stops that melodic respite in its tracks, the initial opening hymnal careering into another full-on gallop before adopting an almost schizophrenic switching of styles, those growling vocals in opposition to melodic soaring vocals, a calming pace of music switching to a ridiculously pace. In many senses a sampler for the album, it is intriguing to see them be so melodic yet so harsh.
‘Futures & Options’ comes in like a more straight forward melodic metal number with Sima’s vocal performance complimented by male growl rapping, tight twin guitar, machine gun drums, symphonic keys – you know the style. ‘Black Flag’ has that classic slow keys intro before the twin guitars introduce a high speed clattering number, multi-tracked vocals adding a choral element before they hit their stride, with a nice instrumental interaction mid-song.
‘Cortex Breakdown’ closes the album at speed, demonstrates all vocal styles heard previously, its harder edge still laced with all the melodic aspects they’ve displayed throughout.
So let’s be honest, it’s not my cup of tea. But for those of you out their who like it at breakneck speed yet displaying an instrumental dexterity, with dark and animalistic tendencies, yet displaying an astonishingly melodic and symphonic ability, , conceptually deep thinking, this is a band for you to check out. I suspect there was wisdom in them taking their time to release an album, as it’s enabled them to grow together, develop their sound, and come into the world fully formed.
1. A Gift From The Gods
2. Tempest In Paradise (The First Advent)
3. Retreat Into Dreamland
4. Plato’s Cave
5. Nature Of The Disease (The Second Advent)
6. Don’t Leave Me Behind
7. No Tomorrow (The Third Advent)
8. Futures & Options
9. Black Flag
10. Cortex Breakdown
Nóra Sima – Vocals
Péter Wachal – Bass Guitar & Vocals
Zsombor Zathureczky – Keyboards
László Gábeli – Lead Guitar
Szabolcs Kerek – Rhythm Guitar
Attila Pécz – Drums