Why is it that all the indie prog bands have to do it all themselves? When was the last time the major prog labels like Inside Out or Frontiers released an album by a completely unknown band? I don’t know honestly. Too often these labels are either releasing bands they’ve finally signed after they’ve been with smaller labels (Haken, Leprous, Circus Maximus) or they just sign established artists that are switching labels (Fates Warning, DGM, etc).
Bands like L’anima are left with no choice but to self-release. After listening to their debut album “Departures,” it makes no sense that L’anima aren’t signed. They do remind me of a less metallic version of fellow British countrymen Haken at times. That is not a bad thing. Singer Andy Mitchell has a very strong voice and the band is tight.
Like Haken’s debut album “Aquarius,” “Departures” has a song called “Point of No Return.” And while the song is VERY strong with a great chorus, it does start off a bit awkward. I think this is sometimes typical of a new band. Look, if a young band can somehow release a perfect album, they have no room to grow. L’anima have a HUGE upside and that’s very obvious.
Whether it’s the aforementioned strong hooks of the opening track, the awesome keyboard solo that closes “Path to Sirius” or “Gema” which is an odd song structural but still works. “My Dying Cell” is another off-kilter track that works with some tasty fretless bass Luca Forlani. But the choral part really doesn’t work for me. It feels really out of place.
The key to what the band does “Departures” is that the songs are important. This is not a band that ever over plays. They also aren’t afraid to attempt an unexpected arrangement like on “My Bloody Silhouette.” The song isn’t a favorite but I really respect the chances that the band took on the track. Also, there are some spoken word interludes here and there on “Departures” but thankfully they don’t last too long.
The album finishes strong with “Elephant Cemetery” though not an epic, it still does a nice job finishing up a strong debut. My hope is that one of the smaller indie prog labels take note of a band such as L’anima. Of course the way to do that is for you the prog fan to check this band out. “Departures” does not reinvent the prog wheel but it doesn’t need to. Instead, it shows a band with tremendous talent and a bright future.
1. Point Of No Return
2. Path To Sirius
4. My Dying Cell
5. Hold Out
6. My Bloody Silhouette
7. The Sound Of Waves
8. The Elephant Cemetery