Israeli prog rock/metal outfit Distorted Harmony left most prog music enthusiasts and reviewers stunned, first with their debut album “Utopia” in 2012, then with “Chain Reaction” in 2014. Four years passed without a new release, so you can imagine how much the new record “A Way Out”, which will be released on July 19, 2018, was anticipated by their fans and supporters.
“A Way Out” is a solid prog album that many will like. Sadly, there is not much more to say about it, as too much went wrong on this record. First of all, vocalist Michael Rose would probably do a lot better in a genre that is far, far away from metal. This is more evident on the new record than on the previous two. On “Chain Reaction”, for example, there vocal lines seemed to suit his voice a lot better. Any part of “A Way Out” that requires power and intensity in the higher register of Michael’s voice sounds compelled, sometimes even agonized when it comes to screaming. I’m thinking of the beginning of “Puppet On Strings”: The great melody is there, he just doesn’t sing it as passionately as it could have been sung. In contrast, Michael’s vocals sound phenomenal in “Awaken” or “Someday”, both in his lower AND falsetto register.
It depends on how much you need the vocals to work for you to like an album, but to me, vocals are crucial, and in this particular case will likely keep me from listening to tracks like “Room 11” or “Downfall”. “But there are other instruments playing, too!” – I know. Release some instrumental tracks, maybe?
Beyond that, the biggest problem with “A Way Out” is that I can’t seem to find my way in emotionally. It sounds way too sterile throughout and makes it hard to rest on specific tracks, which is mostly due to the (over)use of electronic elements and (quite generic) djent-y riffs. Suddenly, 47 minutes passed by and you are thinking to yourself “That can’t be all, can it?” …
I hate to say that “A Way Out” doesn’t stand out in any kind of way to me, because I really wanted it to. Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a bad record. The problem is that “Chain Reaction”, Distorted Harmony’s second album, was just phenomenal, full of fierce and heart-warming tracks alike and already set the bar unbelievably high for the next album. It’s evident that such a performance is hard to top.
In my opinion, Distorted Harmony should focus more on writing great individual songs in the future – tracks that keep the listener on his toes and that address his emotions. Nonetheless, to end this review on a positive note: It can only get better from here, and I really believe it actually will!
Release date: July 19, 2018
Rating: average (3)
Michael Rose – vocals
Yoel Genin – guitars
Amit Plaschkes – guitars
Yoav Efron – keyboards & programming
Iggy Cohen – bass
Yogev Gabay – drums
02. Room 11
05. Puppet On Strings
06. For Ester
08. A Way Out Of Here
09. Time And Time Again
10. We Are Free