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‘Perceptions’ is the debut album by Watershape, an Italian prog metal outfit formed in in 2014 by drummer Francesco Tresca (Power Quest, Arthemis, Hypnotheticall), guitarist Mirko Marchesini (Hypnotheticall, Sinatras), bass/stick player Mattia Cingano (Hollow Haze, Hypnotheticall), keyboard player Enrico Marchiotto and singer Nicolo Cantele. They say they play progressive music influenced both by progressive rock (King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant, …) and progressive metal (Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Opeth, …) and feel inspired by Steve Wilson and particularly his work with Porcupine Tree. In reality what we actually have is a power metal outfit who are inspired by prog, as opposed to a prog metal band. But, this isn’t something just to be dismissed out of hand as it is actually an interesting album. True, the more progressive passages are few and far between, but there are some strong commercial numbers here as well. There are definitely times when they are pushing the prog button too hard, such as during the meandering “Cyber Life”: they shouldn’t have bothered with the instrumental section in the middle (really, they shouldn’t have) and instead should have just kept riffing through. It is an independent release, and although the production is generally much better than one might imagine, certainly some of the vocals could have done with being re-recorded as there are instances when Nicolo isn’t quite right, and a strong producer would have picked up on that. Not a bad album, and I have been playing it a great deal, but at present there is still a lot to be done before they move up to the next level. Would they have been better playing this as a melodic power metal band without trying too hard to get prog into it? Probably, so it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
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