Edge of Haze – “Deluge”

DelugeEdge of Haze’s “Deluge” is the type of record that is a bit difficult to write about. The trim and tight work checks many of the requisite boxes for this type of modern prog release, but ultimately while the production and many of the performances exhibit a real sense of talent and craft, I wasn’t really moved by the proceedings. Instead, the band leave the listener with a concise and melodic musical statement, and these pillars of the Edge of Haze sound are two sides of a coin: sometimes the direct nature of the music is for better and sometimes it is for worse.

The core sound on ‘Deluge” is very modern to my ear, and as I went through several listens that term kept popping up again and again in my notes. Big, down-tuned guitars rumble over meticulous drums. The production is clean and punchy, but borders on sterile at times, and I wished for a bit more grit in the overall sound. I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of the type of hyper-melodic-ism on display here: most songs are buoyed by a “huge” melodic chorus, and by the end of the record many of these hooks seemed kind of same-y in my opinion. That isn’t to take away anything from the performances, which are generally very good, but the content had me wishing the band pushed further into different sonic territory, building upon their obvious talents in a way that used some more sonic colors.

To that end, I struggled a bit with the vocal element on “Deluge”. The vocalist is generally very solid within his range, and pulls off the obvious melodic intent of the record. However, the dynamics at play seem a little narrow, and I found myself wishing for the singer to really cut loose at parts. In addition, there are some vocal processing and other studio effects added in to color the sound at times, and while I understand the creative choice of using effects like these, I struggled to really enjoy portions of the vocal performance as a result. I similarly am reminded of the first time I heard Frost*, and the subsequent back and forth I’ve felt over their early work and similar production choices, which at times is a bit too distracting for my taste.

A few interludes are dispersed throughout the track-listing, and I found closer “The Mist Will Guide You Home” to be a good encapsulation of the band’s style, and the strongest track on display here. Elsewhere, loud-soft modulations and riffs on the verse chorus structure akin to more classic hard rock are called back, although the brevity definitely sees some room for expansion should the band want to pursue that avenue.

Criticisms aside, “Deluge” is a solid release of modern melodic prog with a metal bent. Those listeners who may be more interested in overt melody and a more direct sense of  structure and progression will no doubt find enjoyment here, as the band largely hits the mark they seem to be aiming for. Well played, produced, and performed, one can’t fault the band for making a polished final product, although in the future I would love to see the band embrace more of their rough edges, which I feel may be an interesting addition into their mix of sounds.

Score: 6.5/10

Tracklist:

  1. Tidal Waves Will Rise
  2. Until We Hit The Water
  3. Hallucine
  4. Perfume
  5. Forever Dreaming
  6. Skydive
  7. The Mist Will Guide You Home

Bandcamp: https://edgeofhaze.bandcamp.com/album/deluge

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