Poem - Skein Syndrome

(CD 2016, 47:34, ViciSolum Productions VSP079)

The tracks:
  1- Passive Observer(6:31)
  2- Fragments(5:45)
  3- The End Justifies The Means(5:26)
  4- Bound Insanity(8:23)
  5- Weakness(5:11)
  6- Desire(7:57)
  7- Remission Of Breath(8:21)

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Athens based Poem is a four-piece progressive rock /metal band which was formed in 2006 by George Prokopiou, Kamil Kamieniecky and George Anagnostou. The line-up went through some changes over the years and now consists of vocalist and guitar player George Prokopiou, guitarist Laurence Zervas Bergström, bass player Stratos Haidos and drummer Stavros Rigos. Their musical style shows both equal parts of progressive and alternative rock with alternative metal elements. In 2008 Poem recorded their debut album The Great Secret Show, an album that was voted as, “The best Greek debut album since '00s “ by Metal Hammer Greece. Poem heavily toured over the years supporting bands like Ozzy Osbourne, Opeth, Pain Of Salvation, Paradise Lost and Leprous. Something that really paid off and made Poem a successful and solid live band. Eight years since their debut album Poem released their long-awaited successor Skein Syndrome.

Skein Syndrone is filled with six songs, which all clock over five minutes and combine nice complex structures from a band like Opeth, melancholic elements that refer to a band like Soen or Paradise Lost, but also sometimes George touches the alternative sound of Staind or Volbeat's vocal parts. Passive Observer is one of the samples where you can witness the aforementioned combination. But also Fragments stands out, the vocal parts are quite impressive here. From reasonable relaxed and melodic to an incredible growl, George masters them both. Hypnotizing rhythms on the drums are accompanied by solid riffs, taking this track to the alternative side of prog metal. The melancholic element is emphasised on The End Justifies The Means, a nice slower track that gently builds towards a very strong guitar part at the end of the tune. Dedicated guitar parts and emotional vocals are the base for Bound Insanity, although the riffs are fine and nasty, the track itself has the intensity of Volbeat combined with Opeth's delicate thunder. Something different from the other compositions is Weakness, a track that gently builds on power and will really work well under live circumstances, regarding the catchy vocals parts. Nice bass playing leads in Desire, a track with minor traditional elements in the opening section, but swiftly turns into a nice powerful guitar driven track, focussed on massive riffs and strong vocal parts. Progressive metal vs Volbeat's steady rock music seems to me the proper description for the final track on the album: Remission Of Breath. My personal favourite of the album, due to the combination of great guitar parts, fine vocals and a wonderful composition.

Poem might not be the food for the regular progressive metal fan, but I would suggest to give this one a try. Skein Syndrome sees very strong compositions, played by fantastic musicians and could be served as the ultimate snack for the alternative progressive metal fan.

****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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