Secrets of metalogy...
Genre: progressive metal
There's progressive metal which is progressive metal because it sounds like Dream Theater (and that is definitely okay), and then there is progressive metal which is progressive metal because it is progressive and original. Björn Eliasson's Warnot falls under the latter category, as "His Blood Is Yours" definitely does not sound like Dream Theater or any other influential progressive metal act for that matter.
Given Eliasson's background in Cloudscape, the progressive approach should not come as a surprise, but the dark and gothic atmosphere which pervades the album might come as a shock to some (but, hopefully, it is a positive surprise). The tracks on the album build on heavy and groovy guitar figures, wrapped in symphonic and gothic effects from synthesizers. As is popular these post-Aeyon and post-Consortium Project days, Warnot makes use of a host of vocalists with different singing styles and voices. This results in a multi-faceted and indeed very interesting sound album vocals-wise with singing styles including both clean and harsh male vocals as well as clean female vocals. At times, Warnot makes use of choral arrangements, some of which near the level of brilliance associated with the legendary prog rock band Yes.
Musically, "His Blood Is Yours" is quite diverse. Yes, the anchor consists of the dark and groovy guitars, but this does not stop Eliasson from being very eclectic in his overall approach. Thus, the album features elements from doom metal, gothic metal, power metal, traditional metal, hard rock and symphonic metal. But the dark atmosphere is ubiquitous - even in the ballady 'R.I.P.' and the prog AOR-inspired track 'I Am A Ghost' which, I believe, is the first ever gothic AOR track in the world.
Musically, this album is a huge artistic success. The vocals are interesting - although some of the singing styles are an acquired taste - and Eliasson performs masterfully on all instruments. Sadly, Warnot's main rhythmic backbone is provided by programmed drums on a computer. Although modern technology allows for programmed drums that have the same sonic qualities as real drums, they still lack the dynamics and organic feel of a real flesh and blood drummer. The drums do sound mechanical more often than I like on this album, and I do not understand why Eliasson did not hire a real drummer to perform on the album - I mean Sweden is virtually drowning in awesome drummers.
Anyways, the drummer issue aside, "His Blood Is Yours" reminds us that progressive metal can be dark and brooding, and, as such, the album is a huge artistic success. Fans of Thine, Psychotic Waltz, Symphony X and Anubis Gate's darker stuff are likely to appreciate this album.