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The German band EFFLORESCE was formed in 2008 (if the info I found on its prehistory is correct), and its current line-up was established in 2009. The "Shades of Fate" EP from the same year is their first and so far only officially released production. What they have to offer are three compositions that reside within the heartland of progressive metal, referencing the earlier parts of this style to a greater degree than the contemporary and extreme varieties. Slow-to-mid-paced numbers with drawn-out massive riffs and mid-paced riff cascades as dominating features and nifty drum patterns adding variety alongside pacier and often quirky riff inserts. The progressive dimensions are given an emphasis with gentler clean guitar-dominated passages, flute soloing and subtle use of Mellotron. Clever use of recurring themes establishes a sense of familiarity. Female lead vocals are a nice additional flavor in this style, as always, and while perhaps a tad too restrained in places, the voice contrasts the instrumental backing in a nice and compelling manner. "Shades of Fate" comes across as a fine production, not remarkable as such, but with a fair few good ideas to enjoy and an obvious talent to appreciate. Those who have a soft spot for progressive metal acts sporting female lead vocalists should be something of a core audience presumably, and the darker moods explored might also appeal to fans of acts such as Opeth.
Olav M Bjornsen: March 17, 2011
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