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While I am the true type of progressive rock stroke metal fan who can defiantly relate to Existence's new Dark Suns album, I'm always wary of the current slew of so called 'prog bands' being shoved down out throats.
Thankfully, I can defiantly report that this disk demonstrates a pleasing amount of progression, although it can't claim to cover much new ground; and the band as a whole can be likened to the already well thought of Riverside in places which I suppose can be seen as compliment too.
Unlike Riverisde however, Existence have actually taken time to test out waters here in the UK with a low key show in Camden, London which was, as I gather bootlegged for their fans.
My initial thoughts as a whole are that Dark Suns is quite gritty and dark (a reflection of its German roots no doubt), and there are some impressive vocal harmonies and arrangements, and I can certainly see the band being very successful.
Dark Suns have come a long way since their derivative debut, and now have a much different and more distinctive sound, even if comparisons to bands such as Green Carnation in particular are unavoidable. Abandoning pretensions to death metal, which they seemingly couldn't play without stealing all of their ideas from Opeth, the band is reinvented as a competitive progressive metal outfit, still retaining its heaviness but supplementing this with a greater keyboard focus and entirely clean vocals.
This is impressive prog metal in the vein of Pain of Salvation or Riverside rather than the overt showmanship of something like Dream Theater, and while there's always a lot going on in the well-produced soundscape, it's never enough to alienate the listener. Songs like 'The Euphoric Sense' are led by memorable choruses, while at the other end of the scale, the final two songs are long and comparatively complex, but still approachable for newcomers.
2. A Slumbering Portrait
3. The Euphoric Sense
4. Her and the Element
7. You, A Phantom Still
8. Gently Bleeding
9. Abiding Space
10. Patterns of Oblivion
11. One Endless Childish Day