Metaphysics
Beyond the Nightfall
Progressive metal may be a something of a stagnant genre nowadays, but there’s still great quality to be found. Metaphysics is an Italian group that have been together since 2005, and though their sound is but a sliver away from the prog metal giants that so clearly influence them, they have created a memorable first album with Beyond the Nightfall. If you’ve ever listened to Dream Theater or Symphony X and wished they focused a little more on the melodic side of their music, then Metaphysics should fill a hole.

Filled with hooks and catchy melodies galore, Metaphysics is truly able to convey their melodic songwriting in progressive metal, without letting it slip into banal AOR territory. In fairness, it’s nothing new for progressive rock or metal in general, but there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had with Metaphysics.

Beyond the Nightfall kicks off on a strong start with “Fallin’”,  a rocker of a track that quickly introduces the band’s style. Flashy guitars and keyboards are held on generally equal grounds in terms of their importance to the music. The bass work is impressive, although- much like Dream Theater and a host of other prog metal bands- it feels under-represented compared to the other instruments. Drummer Marco Aiello arguably gives the most consistently impressive performance on the album, firing away with a similar sort of busy intensity to Mike Portnoy’s work on the first few Dream Theater records. Vocalist Davide Gabriele does not sound like a LaBrie or an Allen, yet his voice does not sound out of place at all for the style that Metaphysics play. His voice emphasizes melody over anything else, and while his voice could be mistaken for one of many power metal frontmen, he pulls his weight well, leading Metaphysics with a delivery that favors the mid-to-higher range.

For such technically complicated music, it’s very surprising how accessible Metaphysics’ music feels. Perhaps it’s the fact that Beyond the Nightfallis very similar to many prog metal albums I’ve heard, but I think it’s their penchant for melodic songwriting that really sells them on the first listen. The instrumentation is saturated with time signature changes and the occasional freak-out that’s bound to make a newcomer’s head spin, but Gabriele’s vocal melodies give an openness that should agree with most listeners. “Follow Your Desires” and the brilliant climax “Lifend” are among my preferred picks, best representing the band’s clear talent and skill in performance and songwriting.

With their potential in mind, it’s a little disappointing that – like so many prog metallers- Metaphysics sound so similar to their influences. That can be generally forgiven, given how many newcomers choose to do the same thing, but I think Beyond the Nightfall would have had given a stronger impression, had Metaphysics approached the progressive metal genre from a little more of a unique angle. Original it’s not, but Beyond the Nightfall is one of the better progressive metal albums to have come out of 2012.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Conor Fynes
September 7th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    good detailed writeup. hopefully I will dig this – I always love finding bands that stack up to DT and Symphony X. if the vocals are good then I should be sold.


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    not digging this so far, it sounds like a heavy, progressive Bon Jovi… maybe that’s mainly the vocalist. the writing is also not as smooth as DT or Symphony – I hear a lot of stuttery, rock-ish chug with keyboards layered over and stop-start time changes but nothing is really carrying me away yet.


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