Progressive metal has taken on many shapes and forms over the years. Nowadays, it’s harder to find a band that is just straight up prog metal without any additional sub-genres thrown in. Finland’s Simulacrum are damn close to straight up prog metal. The only sub-genres to consider would be a dash of Symphony X styled power metal (see “Embrace the Animal Within”) and some symphonic metal because they do have some orchestration on tracks like “Behind the Belt of Orion.”
How good is the music? Right off you notice how well structured the songs are. Regardless if the songs are shorter like the catchy “Broken” (which comes with a sax solo!) or epic like “A New Beginning,” the transitions are truly flawless. There are plenty of riffs, movements and of course solos. Keyboardist/composer Chrism is a master and guitarist Nicholas Pulkkinen is equal to the task of keeping up with him.
So what are the issues? While vocalist Niklas Broman can sing, but his range isn’t enough for what the melodies call for. He has a gritty voice which works best in his mid range. Unfortunately, he really strains when he goes into his upper register. And this tends to happen on each song because that’s what’s needed. He is a good singer but I would prefer a great singer to fit the great musicians in Simulacrum.
If you’ve read my previous post on vocalists, you know that I hate when bands sell themselves short with a decent vocalist. Broman can sing but I am not convinced he is a prog metal vocalist. Musically, Simulacrum are nothing short of incredible. If you are fine with a good vocalist and a great band, “Sky Divided” is an album you will enjoy.
2. Behind The Belt Of Orion
4. Embrace The Animal Within
5. Deep In The Trenches
6. The Abomination
7. Sky Divided
8. Enter Hyperion
9. A New Beginning