After an album as strong as “Spiritual Migration,” I was really wondering if Persefone could actually release a follow up that would exceed that one. Sure that album was an improvement on the album prior but it’s rare for a band to continue to grow with each outing.
“Aathma” proves that yes, Persefone had more room to grow and mature as it turns out. It’s not until a few listens to “Aathma” that you realize it, which is the mark of a great album. This is not to say that “Aathma” is perfect. Personally, I could live without what is effectively two preludes to start off the album. For me, things don’t get really interesting until “Prison Skin” which ranks with anything that Persefone has ever done.
You know things are good when the interlude-like tracks are good. “Cosmic Walkers” is stellar. But it’s those longer tracks that make Persefone so fucking dangerous. “Stillness is Timeless” is not only my favorite song on THIS album but it’s my favorite song by Persefone in general. The band have kept their technical ability but have added a stronger sense of melody which, while always present, has moved more toward the fore. In some ways, Persefone have moved closer to what Haken started out as.
Another added bonus is the out-of-body vocals of Cynic’s Paul Masvidal in the beginning of “Living Waves.” Given the lyrical content and really the spiritual vibe that Persefone have always had, this is a great pairing. The four part title track is another showcase for the band, though I do find the fourth and final part to be a big let down. I really would have preferred the album end BIG but instead, “…Many of One” is similar to the way the album started. While that makes sense, since I didn’t care for the way it started, I’m not thrilled to see it revisited.
It took 4 years for this monster of an album to be written, recorded and released and the time was well spent. Persefone should be mentioned along with all of the current crop of prog metal bands. While I am sure those who can’t handle death vocals will still be unwilling to give them a chance, I think the rest of you should check out this band and “Aathma.” This is a band at the peak of their powers…at least until their next album!
1. An Infinitesimal Spark
2. One of Many…
3. Prison Skin
4. Spirals Within Thy Being
5. Cosmic Walkers
6. No Faced Mindless
7. Living Waves (feat. Paul Masvidal)
9. Stillness is Timeless
10. Aathma Part I. Universal Oneness
11. Aathma Part II. Spiritual Bliss
12. Aathma Part III. One with the Light
13. Aathma Part IV. …Many of One