It seems like it’s getting harder and harder for artists to be truly progressive. The genre has been around for so long that you would assume that it’s all been done by now. And then a band comes along that actually pushes things forward and challenges the listener. Perfect Beings are that band. Their third album “Vier” (which is German for “four,” strange right? Well hang on.) is ambitious and should put Perfect Beings firmly on everyone’s radar.
The first thing you notice is that the album is divided into four separate parts, now you get why the title is “Vier.” To be clear, these are not really 4 epic songs but rather four parts that the songs are a part of. This means that the ideas and themes are related. Like in “Guedra,” “Enter the Center” circles back to themes established in the opening track “A New Pyramid.” The themes are based on very distinct harmonies and melodies. They aren’t even ones I can easily compare to anyone else.
And that’s one of the key things about “Vier” as a whole. I often try to draw a comparison to other bands so that you all have a point of reference. With Perfect Beings, it’s not that simple. They aren’t prog metal, they ARE prog rock but not like Yes. They have the modern prog ethos of Steven Wilson but don’t fall back into obvious influences the way that he does. “Vier” is most definitely fresh in the truest sense of the word.
Epics? Well despite the numbers listed below, there are no massive epics. Mini-epics? Yes indeed. “The Persimmon Tree” is 8 minutes of pure prog bliss: Pianos, orchestration, and castanets (what’s more prog than castanets?). It goes from being calm and reassuring to very unsettling. Perfect Beings are very good at twists and turns because their transitions are superb. They follow that longer track with the 2 minute symphonic bluster of “Turn the World Off.”
I think the only point of references that I can think of would be Procol Harum (when it comes to their quieter moments) and classic King Crimson (for their louder moments). Even as I type that, it doesn’t seem like a good comparison. I could include Pink Floyd with the Gilmour-esque guitar on “America.”
But then you have something like “The System and Beyond” which is like Tangerine Dream meets 10cc. And then the simple beauty of “Mysteries, Not Answers.” The album doesn’t sit still!! The final section “Anunnaki” has just as many great moments too. “A Compromise” is about as straight forward as Perfect Beings get but even then, it’s doesn’t sound simple. Nothing really does on “Vier.”
“Vier” is an album that reveals more and more over time. I really don’t think you can fully appreciate it after a couple of listens. I knew I liked it but I actually wasn’t sure why. Even now, I just want to hear it again because I know I’ve missed a lot of things. “Vier” is a piece of art in addition to being an album. Perfect Beings now feature former Cynic drummer Sean Reinhart and while he is NOT on “Vier,” he will make a great addition to a band with a very bright future.
Guedra – 18:23
- A New Pyramid
- The Blue Lake of Understanding
- Enter the Center
The Golden Arc – 16:47
- The Persimmon Tree
- Turn the World Off
- For a Pound of Flesh
Vibrational – 18:17
- The System and Beyond
- Mysteries, Not Answers
- Altars of the Gods
- Everywhere at Once
Anunnaki – 18:42
- Lord Wind
- Patterns of Light
- A Compromise
- Hissing the Wave of the Dragon
- Everything’s Falling Apart