Utopia
DISTORTED HARMONY

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DISTORTED HARMONY - Utopia cover
4.31 | 21 ratings | 8 reviews
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Album · 2012

Filed under Progressive Metal

Tracklist

1. Kono Yume (8:40)
2. Breathe (8:52)
3. Obsession (9:11)
4. Blue (7:24)
5. Unfair (8:07)
6. Utopia (12:30)

Total time 54:44

Line-up/Musicians

- Misha Soukhinin / Vocals
- Guy Landau / Guitar
- Yoav Efron / Keyboard
- Iggy Cohen / Bass
- Yogev Gabay / Drums

About this release

Self-Released 14th May 2012

Produced by: Yoav Efron
Recorded by: Jonathan Barak, Yonatan Kossov, Carmel De Picciotto and Yan Etedgy
Mixed by: Jonathan Barak at Sonic Studios
Mastered by: Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios

CD version released on 29th July 2012.

Thanks to colt for the addition and tupan, adg211288, bartosso for the updates

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DISTORTED HARMONY UTOPIA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Utopia" is the debut full-length studio album by Israeli, Tel Aviv based progressive metal act Distorted Harmony. The album was originally released in May 2012 as a free download on the band´s Bandcamp page, but saw a CD release in July 2012.

The 5-piece act play a very dynamic and well written progressive metal style. The keyboards are quite dominant in the soundscape, but there are still plenty of room for heavy distorted guitar riffs and pounding rythms ((and thankfully no sirupy ballads to disrupt the flow of the album. Yes I´m looking at you Dream Theater). As mentioned this is very dynamic music though, so there are both more mellow and atmospheric parts on the album too. The musicianship is generally excellent but to my ears it´s lead vocalist Misha Soukhinin that stands out the most. He has a strong, personal and emotional/melancholic delivery that´s not typical for a vocalist in a progressive metal act. Actually his voice and singing style remind me quite a bit of Jan H. Ohme from the Norwegian alternative/progressive rock act Gazpacho. Besides that influence I´d mention acts like Dream Theater and Riverside among the influences.

The tracks feature adventurous and complex structures, tempo- and time signature changes and technical playing but there is always great focus on catchy hooks. To my ears it´s that balance between technical playing and emotional delivery that makes "Utopia" such a strong release. The sound production is powerful, detailed and well sounding. Pretty impressive considering that this is a 100% self-financed release. So overall "Utopia" is an album with very few flaws and a lot of positive qualities. A 4 star (80%) rating is more than deserved.
Warthur
Eeeeeh, alright, I guess I can just about give Distorted Harmony's debut album a thumbs-up. This progressive metal tour de force is an intriguingly gentle ride which incorporates plenty of quieter, more acoustic moments - to the point where the band are at risk of drifting away from metal altogether - but on balance there are enough twists and turns to keep a range of listeners happy. That said, I think it could do with a little more editorial trimming here and there, with some sections mildly outstaying their welcome - in particular, the bit where lead vocalist Misha Soukhinin goess off on a spoken word tangent in which he presents a simplistic and not especially interesting or original political philosophy tries my patience every time I listen to the album. Like I said: I'll give it the thumbs-up, but it only just slipped under the wire.
J-Man
People have argued about how the internet affects the music industry for well over a decade now, and although I'm sure these debates will persist for decades more, there is one clear way in which music benefits from the world wide web - distribution. Take Distorted Harmony, for example; a group of virtuous progressive metal musicians from Israel that has had the opportunity to share their art with the world through the means of online distribution. Released in May, 2012 for free on their SoundCloud page, Utopia is the sort of album that I'd expect from established progressive metal veterans - stunning compositions, incredibly high levels of musicianship, and flawless execution make this one of the best albums I've heard this year. Much like Haken did just a couple of years ago with the masterpiece that was Aquarius, Distorted Harmony have entered the scene with a stunning observation that deserves to be heard by every fan of the genre.

Though Utopia's finest asset is in its strikingly dynamic compositions, one of Distorted Harmony's greatest strengths is their ability to stay within the confines of 'traditional' progressive metal while still coming across as fresh and unique. The strong vocal melodies, frequent use of polyrhythmic syncopation, and symphonic tendencies bring Pain of Salvation to mind, and the technical acrobatics will probably remind most listeners of Dream Theater - while this may not sound like too unique of a formula, heavy and modern sounding riffs, frequent deviations into traditional symphonic prog, and alternative-sounding melodies add an additional layer of freshness to Distorted Harmony's core sound. Whilst one could potentially argue that Utopia does sound stylistically similar to many other observations in the genre, Distorted Harmony has put a stamp on the album that is distinctly theirs. And, at the end of the day, what really matters most is the music - and that is where Distorted Harmony makes one hell of an impression.

Utopia consists of six songs, clocking anywhere from seven to twelve-and-a-half minutes apiece, and although the tracks are certainly on the 'longer' side, Distorted Harmony does not indulge in any drawn-out shredfests or sprawling epics. The band focuses much more on powerful, compact compositions, which I think suits them very well. Utopia doesn't have a weak moment in sight; every section is captivating, every transition is smooth, and every song leaves an impression that will last for quite some time even after the listener has given the album a rest. Everything from the grandiose orchestrations in 'Kono Yume' to the climatic ending in 'Utopia' just reeks of sheer perfection, and even after enjoying the album for nearly half a year, I'm still nowhere near finished with this slice of heaven.

For better or worse, Utopia is the sort of release that only comes around once in a blue moon - albums this perfect just don't roll around frequently enough, especially for debut offerings. Utopia is just one of those releases that always manages to challenge my mind, pull my heartstrings, and lift my mood regardless of the circumstances - even after hearing this dozens of time, I'm still shocked by some of the intricacies used by Distorted Harmony. It will take a damn good album to dethrone this one from 'album of the year' for me, and even if that were to happen, Utopia will still stand as one of the best progressive metal albums I have ever heard. Well done, gentlemen!
bartosso
Six pieces of noble cheese

Traditional progressive metal is often considered to be cheesy, stagnant and derivative. Let's see... "traditional" and "progressive". Not a very fortunate choice of words. Isn't the first one an antonym of the other one? Well, it is, usually. Distorted Harmony managed to bend the rules of semantics though. UTOPIA is dripping with traditional prog metal elements - keyboards, synths and virtuosity. All this, however, is just a wrapping for some really well-crafted, inventive and emotionally charged metal music.

As usual, production is not without significance. What often bothers me about modern prog releases, is that the sound feels overproduced and artificial. Fortunately, UTOPIA's sound is indeed polished yet infused with a healthy dose of organic sharpness and spiced with a pinch of old-school prog rock softness. As a result, all assets of the album - intricate passages, theme changes with underlying symphonic prog basis - are well highlighted.

"Apparently Michael Bublé wouldn't be so dull if he stopped rehashing ideas of Frank Sinatra and started a prog metal band." That's what I thought right after hearing Misha Soukhinin's voice in "Kono Yume". His vocals are one of the best things about Distorted Harmony, no joke! Expressive, well trained and original. Especially when compared to typical prog metal vocalists, trying to sound like James LaBrie or Geoff Tate. Misha's voice reminds me of Michael Bublé (darn, I feel like I shouldn't be saying this) and his timbre suits the music very well. As for the music, UTOPIA consists of six intricate compositions, deeply rooted in classic progressive metal and underlaid with strong symphonic prog rock element. All that tinged with Opeth's eclectic approach to harmony and... some pop catchiness. At times I feel like some of the cheesy parts could have been avoided but as a whole, UTOPIA is a top-notch progressive metal release.

I'm not by any means a fan of traditional progressive metal. I don't like Dream Theater and Queensrÿche get on my nerves. Still, I really like this album. So, even if you're not into this sub-genre of metal music, give Distorted Harmony a chance to, ermm... distort your tastes... clumsy pun, eh?
Conor Fynes
'Utopia' - Distorted Harmony (9/10)

Listening to Distorted Harmony's debut, I'm reminded of an album I heard back in 2010. I've long held the belief that the heyday of progressive metal was back whenever Dream Theater were at their creative peak. Although almost every style of music out there takes after its flagship artists in one way or another, I found that far too many bands sought to copy without adding their own flair. Of course, your typical Dream Theater, or Symphony X clone will be armed to the brim with technical skill, but it was the emotional element that was sorely missing. In 2010, it was Haken's "Aquarius" that opened my eyes to the 'current' prog metal scene's potential. "Utopia"s blend of heartfelt melodies, warm performance, and razor- sharp compositions instantly places Distorted Harmony on the prog metal map, alongside the other promising newcomers.

Though there were some infamous exceptions, I think the majority of prog metallers found themselves impressed and even touched by Haken's "Aquarius"; it stuck within Dream Theater's style, yet managed to create something fresh with it. I don't mean to keep comparing Distorted Harmony with Haken, but I really do get the same impression from them. In spite of being Distorted Harmony's first complete offering, they have already fully realized their sound in several respects. I would not be out of place calling Distorted Harmony a 'symphonic' progressive metal band; although they do not make a complete leap into orchestral territory, there is usually a rich symphonic arrangement backing up the band. Although this element of Distorted Harmony's sound is programmed, it does not sound cheap or dull. In fact, listeners will be surprised to hear what a fantastic production Distorted Harmony have this first time around, although when it's been mastered by the almighty Jens Bogren, that's usually a sign of good things.

Distorted Harmony cite bands like Dream Theater, Opeth, and Symphony X as influences, and the styles of those bands are most certainly engrained in "Utopia". I might add Pain of Salvation to that list. Although Dream Theater's frantic, technical, oftimes quirky approach resonates most with Distorted Harmony, they are not so much a clone as they are taking that familiar style and going their own way with it. Most notably, "Utopia" is an incredibly melodic album, and I don't mean in the bland AOR sense either. The album is filled with trademark instrumental prog metal passages, but Distorted Harmony set themselves apart most by combining melodic elements with prog so seamlessly. Misha Soukhinin is a perfect vocalist for this style; capable of a wide range, and able to capture a rich feeling at any pitch.

Perhaps listeners will find Distorted Harmony too close in sound to Dream Theater, but repeated listens demonstrate how well these guys are able to fuse their influences into one glorious whole. I may be tempted to call it the "Aquarius" of 2012, in that "Utopia" is a surprise-out-of-nowhere prog metal debut. In truth however, they have taken this worn-and- weary style and done something that's very much their own; rich, beautiful and proggy as hell. What's even better; they're offering it for free download on their website!
adg211288
Utopia is the debut full-length about from Israeli progressive metal act Distorted Harmony. The album is an entirely self-released affair that has been released as a free download via the band’s official website.

Utopia contains six tracks of well crafted progressive metal that makes it hard to believe that the album is a free download. The standard here is as professional as anything released on a major label and the music highly interesting throughout its near one hour duration. Melodic and symphonic, Distorted Harmony has the sort of sound that will easily appeal to both fans of straight up progressive metal groups and also fans of progressive rock, particularly within the symphonic prog sub-genre. If I had to pull one name out of the hat to compare the band to though it would have to be the United Kingdom’s Haken. Not that the two bands sound exactly the same, but because Utopia gives me exactly the same feelings as that band’s debut Aquarius did in 2010 – the feeling that I’m listening to a band that in time will achieve the same level of regard in the progressive circles that acts such as Dream Theater have enjoyed. In short Distorted Harmony sets the bar high with Utopia.

Although it’s just six tracks of music, Distorted Harmony shows a clear love of crafting epics as the shortest they’ve offered up here is just shy of seven and a half minutes. The compositions though still seem to fly by since they’re that good and consecutive listens of the album don’t lessen the appeal that comes from the first listen. If anything it only enhances what Distorted Harmony has delivered here more and more each time. The music explores multiple influences and ideas from heavy riffs to beautiful piano rounded off with the clear melodic vocals of Misha Soukhinin that keep the music both flowing and accessible. Even when the music is at its most progressive the lyrical hooks are there to get the songs stuck in your head and craving further listens to the masterpiece the band has created. No track on the album does this as well as Breathe, which also features some quality instrumental work. The closing title track, the longest of the bunch, is also a firm favourite, but the overall flow between the six is so good that in some respects it’s like one long epic track, and as such, and as with any masterpiece of its genre, picking out highlights is near impossible.

All the members of the band prove skilled players on Utopia but special mention to keyboardist Yoav Efron, who provides some excellent progressive sound and melodies to add real depth to Guy Landau’s guitars and the rhythm section of Iggy Cohen (bass) and Yogev Gabay (drums). With such a strong line-up and compositions as this it’s really difficult to comprehend that Utopia is not only a debut but also one without a label’s backing. The production is also very clear and highly professional, showing off the band’s skills perfectly. It’s a real treat.

Utopia is about as fine a work of progressive metal that you’re ever likely to find. The fact that it’s free only adds incentive to go get this. I know I’d happily pay money for it however. The album is highly addictive and it’s always nice to hear a new young progressive metal act making a debut of this high quality. A masterpiece tier rating is easily deserved and I expect this will remain in heavy rotation my end for quite some time.

9.8/10

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))
dtguitarfan
I've been told that the best things in life are free…and I didn't realize they were talking about this album until I heard it. Distorted Harmony are a Progressive Metal band from Israel, and Utopia is their debut album which can be downloaded on the band's website for free, and you may make a donation on the same website if you like.

Musically, this band is an enigma – their style obviously pulls from many different influences, and it's very difficult to nail down anything specific. But I will give it a shot – their music is symphonic, I might even say cinematic, sometimes heavy and complex in the Progressive Metal vein, mixed with a Classic Symphonic Prog sound, and often sounds very influenced by American alternative rock. There are many lush atmospheres created with the mixture of orchestra and piano, and these often transition effortlessly into an intricate pattern with electric, heavier sounds of guitar and synths playing quick-tempo, tricky passages with changing rhythm schemes. The band never gets stuck in one sound, but is constantly shifting and showing they have a palette that has many colors. The production is pristine, the instrumentalists show great skill and mastery of their instruments, and the vocals are beautiful – at times the vocalist reminded me of Chris Martin from Coldplay. Perhaps the greatest thing about this album is its crossover appeal – I believe it would appeal to fans of both Progressive Metal and lighter, more classic sounding Prog. As I listened to each song on this album I kept thinking to myself "how is it possible that something so wonderful is free?"

In conclusion, this album has it all – complex, flowing compositions that artfully weave a tale for the audience, instrumental wizardry, electric and symphonic soundscapes, great vocals, and good production. It is nothing short of a masterpiece, and easily one of the best albums of the year.

Originally written for www.seaoftranquility.org: http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=12911
Kingcrimsonprog
Distorted Harmony are a Progressive Metal band from Israel and 2012’s Utopia is their debut full-length studio album. This album is available for free download from the band’s website should you be interested.

Musically; they mix 1970s Symphonic Prog influences such as Yes, Genesis and ELP sounds, containing a lot of lush piano sounds and sweet sounding synths, with both a Dream Theater and Pain Of Salvation approach to the Metal side, as well as hints of a big American alt-rock radio sound in moderation.

As can imagine based on that description, there are long songs that have sections of very rhythmic distorted guitar and frequent double-kick drum sections going off in challenging time signatures, occasionally overlaid with fast paced key solos, and these are followed and preceded by beautiful orchestral sounding passages, but also occasionally framed with sections you might expect from a million-selling 1990s radio ballad.

If you are more of a Metal fan and need some convincing, try out the crunchy ‘Unfair’ and if you are more of a Prog fan who needs convincing, try out ‘Breathe.’

The band’s musical talent is unquestionable, their songwriting is impressive. the vocals bring to mind the sort of thing heard from Maynard James Keenan in A Perfect Circle, as well as Porcupine Tree’s Steve Wilson and Mariusz Duda of Riverside. It’s a pretty perfect mixture that covers a lot of ground, flows seamlessly and never manages to sound disjointed or confused. In addition to a fantastically written, performed and pleasing sounding set of songs, the album sounds phenomenal. The lush orchestral passages, perfect guitar tone and excellent mixing job make this sound like it was an impossibly expensive album to produce, with years of time and care put into it by a series of industry professionals. It may well be one of the best-produced albums I’ve ever heard.

Their sound would appeal to fans of any of the aforementioned bands, and other bands that fall within the paradoxical notion of Traditional-Prog-Metal as well as to fans of bands who border on a more Alt direction like Rishloo, Dead Letter Circus, Cog, 3, Karmamechanic, Fair To Midland, Soen, Muse, Amplifier etc

Basically, if you like Progressive Metal at all, then this is seriously something that you may want to check out. This is a superb, immaculately produced album; its dynamic and grandiose, its heavy and technical, its full on great tones and the vocals are brilliant. If you normally like this sort of music then I highly recommend that you give it a shot.

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