2017 seems to be the year of bands releasing albums after a bit of a “break.” Wobbler did it, Roger Waters did it, Styx did it, Threat Signal is doing it (review coming soon) and now “Where Echoes Gather” marks the return of Communic. The Norwegian prog metal unit was last heard from in 2011 with “The Bottom Deep.” While I liked that album, I did feel it was a bit of a let down after 3 absolutely KILLER albums. So I was curious how six years would impact the new material.
All I can say is WOW! “Where Echoes Gather” is exactly what I was hoping for from Communic and then-some! The band still sound like they always have, a bit like a more progressive Nevermore. But the riffs are more technical, the music is more melodic and the band is on the TOP of their game. The album has 3 two part epics “The Pulse of the Earth,” “The Claws Of The Sea” and the title track. You can listen to each of these as one long track but they also each work as separate songs as well. Genius.
Then there are 3 other “single part” tracks: “Moondance,” “Where History Lives” and “Blag Flag of Hate.” Each of these are like mini epics with “Moondance” coming in around 9 minutes as the longest track on the album. It’s also one of my favorites. I’d call it “mellow” when compared to the rest of the album but certainly still heavy and quite progressive. Just a perfect track.
“The Pulse of the Earth” features two excellent parts that segue flawlessly. When the main riff of “The Magnetic Center” stops, the equally awesome riff of “Impact of the Wave” does IMPACT you. Guitarist Oddleif Stensland still has an awesome voice and yes he still is one of the most underrated (unknown) guitarists in prog metal. The rhythm section of Erik Mortensen (bass) and Tor Atle Andersen (drums) are still extremely tight and the heavy punch of “Black Flag of Hate” is a perfect example.
Mortensen gets to start off “Beneath the Giant,” part one of the title track. The song has one of the best riffs the band has ever written. The song has twists and turns which ultimately leads to part 2 “The Underground Swine.” The band had me shaking my head at the technicality of this one. Absolutely a classic Communic track (or two I guess). “The Claws Of The Sea” sounds like a closing prog metal epic should sound. It’s every bit the grand statement needed for an album FULL of big moments.
For me, Communic are PURE progressive metal. Many bands nowadays are trying to fit in with a new trend or be too retro. Communic aren’t about any trends. They write great riffs, can play anything in any time signature but never forget that it’s all about the song. “Where Echoes Gather” is more than just the return of Communic. This is the masterpiece that the band was destined to make. Welcome back, Communic!
1. The Pulse of the Earth (Part 1 – The Magnetic Center)
2. The Pulse of the Earth (Part 2 – Impact of The Wave)
3. Where Echoes Gather (Part 1 – Beneath The Giant)
4. Where Echoes Gather (Part 2 – The Underground Swine)
6. Where History Lives
7. Black Flag of Hate
8. The Claws Of The Sea (Part 1 – Journey Into The Source)
9. The Claws Of The Sea (Part 2 – The First Moment)