PERSEFONE

Progressive Metal • Andorra
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Persefone is an Andorran progressive death metal band. The band's name is derived from Persephone, a figure in Greek Mythology.

The band was founded in early 2001 in Andorra; founding members are Carlos Lozano Quintanilla, Jordi Gorgues Mateu, Toni Mestre Coy, and Xavi Pérez. In 2002 they were joined by Miguel Espinosa Ortiz. The band released their debut album in 2004.
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PERSEFONE Discography

PERSEFONE albums / top albums

PERSEFONE Truth Inside the Shades album cover 3.40 | 9 ratings
Truth Inside the Shades
Progressive Metal 2004
PERSEFONE Core album cover 4.18 | 11 ratings
Core
Progressive Metal 2006
PERSEFONE Shin-Ken album cover 4.03 | 9 ratings
Shin-Ken
Progressive Metal 2009
PERSEFONE Spiritual Migration album cover 4.18 | 10 ratings
Spiritual Migration
Progressive Metal 2013
PERSEFONE Aathma album cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
Aathma
Progressive Metal 2017

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PERSEFONE Reviews

PERSEFONE Truth Inside the Shades

Album · 2004 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
When it comes to nations of the world that have produced some great metal bands, the tiny little nation of Andorra sandwiched between Spain and France doesn’t exactly come to mind but as the odometer moved on to the 21st century, this tiny forgotten principality high up in the Pyrenees Mountains finally got a bit of attention in 2001 when one of its best musical exports hit the scene. Named after the daughter of the mythological Greek goddess Demeter, PERSEFONE expanded past its origins in this nation’s capital city Andorra la Vella and took the international metal world by storm.

While this band has gone through a few lineup changes over the years, it all began with the founding members of Carlos Lozano (guitar), Jordi Gorgues (guitar), Toni Mestre (bass) and Xavi Pérez (drums) who started as a cover band and slowly gained the confidence to craft their own musical visions. The four members worked hard and long on this first album TRUTH INSIDE THE SHADES and after adding two more members, Aleix Dorca (Drums) and Marc Martins (lead vocals), found the perfect chemistry to finish off this debut album and unleash it on an unsuspecting planet. The band experienced instant feedback as the album was a surprise hit at least in terms of the metal underground which has led to a two decade career that has found many slots at various festivals across the European continent.

TRUTH INSIDE THE SHADES actually started off as a demo but after months of crafting new tunes, PERSEFONE found it had enough decent material for a bonafide official full-length release. The style of PERSEFONE is quite diverse and is usually described as a progressive death metal band but those tags only take you so far. It is indeed a progressive metal band that stitches together myriad elements including Chopin-esque piano rolls, symphonic touches, complex Opeth inspired compositional flow and a plethora of time signature deviations, tempo changes and abrupt hairpin turns from aggressive brutality to placid atmospheric contemplation. While guitar riffs rampage, symphonic prog inspired keyboard runs are just as prevalent. Neo-classical guitar shredding sits side by side with black metal screams and death metal growls.

While considered the most underdeveloped of the PERSEFONE canon, TRUTH INSIDE THE SHADES certainly debuted with a bang. While the tracks often begin with classical piano and keyboard melodies, the musical procession offers twists and turns that fuse the elements of power metal, death metal, neoclassical shredding and even elements of black metal in the vein of Cradle of Filth. There are the expected blastbeats, double bass banging and chugging riffage of metal madness but there are also clean melodic moments with clean vocals that offer a glimpse of a true progressive metal album delving into the mellower aspects of progressive rock. The tracks come off as epic with lengthy journeys of musical processions that take on disparate characteristics that at times even mimic operas especially with some of the brief choral vocal moments.

PERSEFONE would go on to craft even more adventurous albums with the following “Core” sending shockwaves into the prog metal community but for a first time effort this debut is not slouch however some of the keyboards do come off as a bit cheesy and there is something missing to the overall effect that really makes this a top notch release but after all is said and done, TRUTH INSIDE THE SHADES delivers an excellent mix of stylistic approaches coupled with outstanding instrumental interplay. The guitar playing is particularly impressive with Jordi Gorgues Mateu displaying some impressively rapid fire shots of shredding. The musical flow runs the gamut of soft and heavenly to hellish and chaotic. Andorra is one of the oldest nations in Europe having been formed in 1278 but finally in the 21st century the tiny microstate at long last had produced a musical artist that put it on the map!

PERSEFONE Aathma

Album · 2017 · Progressive Metal
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DippoMagoo
Great music can come from all over the world and from any country, no matter how major or obscure it is. For example, Andorra is not exactly the first country I’d think of when discussing metal bands, but one of my favorite bands happens to be from there, that being Persefone, a progressive death metal band that first blew me away with their sophomore release Core, and everything they’ve done since has been nothing short of excellent. The band has changed their lineup several times since then, and their sound has evolved over time, but through it all, they have managed to be easily the most consistently satisfying band in their genre, and certainly a band I always look forward to hearing new material from. Their fifth full-length release, Aathma, is now out and once again the band has delivered some of the most complex, most technical, most engaging and most satisfying progressive death metal you’ll ever hear.

One thing I’ve always liked about Persefone is how while they have certain elements that are always a part of their music and they never do massive genre shifts, each of their albums brings something new to the table. For example, Core was a massive 70 minute concept album broken down into just three tracks, over 20 minutes each and both structurally and stylistically it very much reminded me of classic Opeth, while the following album Shin-ken felt a bit more accessible, modernized the music a bit and added some unique Japanese flavor, which immediately gave the album its own feel. Compared to those two albums, Aathma doesn’t feel like as massive a leap from its predecessor, Spiritual Migration, an album which felt like the band went into overdrive, featuring some of their most adventurous and most technical instrumental parts, as well as some of their most extreme death metal sections, and some very atmospheric and melodic clean vocal sections. By comparison, Aathma feels rather similar in that it does hit the same kind of balance between all extremes, but the biggest difference is that it feels a bit more subdued in its tempos, with the music never really speeding up the way some tracks on Spiritual Migration did, and the extreme vocals feel a little bit more restrained. Other than that, though, I’d say it very much feels like a natural evolution of its predecessor, where each previous album tended to feel quite a bit different. Not that I’m at all disappointed, though, because Spiritual Migration was an excellent album that at times showed potential to be even better, and I’d say in some ways Aathma manages to be better, even if the end result is about the same quality overall.

Musically, this is a very complex album with quite a lot going on. Obviously, keyboardist Miguel Espinosa is a very important part of the music, as he adds a lot of atmosphere and texture to the music, both with keyboard effects and some very creepy piano notes at times and this is especially noticeable on some of the soft interlude tracks, but also very much an important part of the heavier tracks as well. Guitarists Carlos Lozano and Filipe Baldaia also have a lot to do, of course, and some of the guitar work on this album is extremely technical and very impressive, as always. Just like its predecessor, this album has a ton of heavier instrumental sections where the musicianship really shines, as well as some excellent riffs during the extreme vocal sections, but the softer sections are just as impressive, if not even more so, and there’s just the right balance between heavy and melodic sections on this album, as well as a perfect balance between great musicianship and cohesive songwriting. In fact, on a musical and compositional level, I’d say this album may be the band’s best work to date, and it is just about perfect.

Vocals have always been the biggest sticking point for me with this band, as no matter which album I listen to, there are some parts where the vocals amaze me and some parts where they just don’t quite work. Spiritual Migration was especially notable for this, as Carlos did an excellent job with his smooth, deep clean vocals and every section where he sang impressed me, but lead vocalist Marc Martins while sometimes solid with his extreme vocals, occasionally got to be a bit irritating as he’d launch into some overly screamy metalcore type vocals I wasn’t a big fan of. This time around, both are actually in fine form as Carlos sounds excellent as always and for the most part, Marc is a little more restrained with his vocals, often using some deeper, yet still powerful death growls, and even the more extreme screamed sections feel a bit better than I was expecting. There are also two notable guest performers, who I will be talking about a bit further in the review, but suffice to say, one of them is a very important reason for my overall score being what it is.

Moving on to songwriting, and this is where Persefone has really delivered this time around. Every track here is brilliantly written, from atmospheric, instrumental interludes “Cosmic Walker” and “Vacuum” which do a great job of calming things down and setting the mood, to heavier tracks like “Spirals With Thy Being” and “No Faced Mindless”, everything here is just about perfect on a compositional level. After a brief opening track, dominated by keyboard effects and voiceovers, which I’ll discuss in more detail later on, we get “One of Many…” the first full instrumental track and it immediately sets the tone, mostly with atmospheric pianos, but also with some nice riffs and a great guitar section near the end, and it serves as a great lead-in to “Prison Skin”, as the overall atmosphere carries over into that track, before the band goes into full prog mode for an extensive instrumental section with excellent musicianship. As the track moves on, we get some great death growls from Marc and some excellent clean vocals from Miguel and the track is relatively straight-forward for a bit, until pausing for an atmospheric section and from there the track is just brilliant, making excellent use of all elements of the music and serving as a great first full song.

It’s really hard discussing individual tracks here, as everything flows together so well, but another early standout is “Spiral Within Thy Being”, which starts out with a nice instrumental section before slowing down and giving us some of the most atmospheric death metal sections on the album. Meanwhile, “No Faced Mindless” speeds things up a bit during the first half and has some melodic death metal elements early on, before becoming a bit more technical in the second half, as we get some very proggy instrumental sections and more great clean vocals. The longest individual track (at least on my promo) is “Stillness is Timeless”, an excellent song which goes through many different phases and does a great job of alternating between many different styles, before slowing down near the end and building up for the four-part, 20-minute title track. I’m not sure if the song is meant to be broken into four tracks or presented as one, but my promo has it split up, so I’ll judge it as four parts, Anyway, each part of the title track serves its own purpose, with parts 1 and III representing the bulk of the song, giving us some heavier parts and growls, to go along with Miguel’s clean vocals, while part II is a largely instrumental track, mostly on the softer side, with a brief voiceover section from guest Merethe Soltvedt, who also sings on part IV, a soft closing track played entire on keyboards and piano. Her vocals are very pleasant and fit the music well, giving the album an amazing ending.

One last track I haven’t mentioned yet is “Living Waves”. Its second half is absolutely brilliant, featuring some great extreme metal sections as well as some of the best clean vocals on the entire album. However, it’s the first half that really stands out and that makes an impact on my overall impression of this album. I mentioned earlier that the opening track features some voiceovers. Well, those voiceovers are provided by another guest, Cynic vocalist Paul Masvidal, whose voice I’ve always struggled with as I tend to not like an overuse of vocal effects in metal. Unfortunately, he goes overboard with those effects on this album, greatly distorting his voice on both the opening track and “Living Waves”, and in case that wasn’t enough, the latter track has a brief part where his voice gets high pitched and whiny, and when you combine that with the distortion effects….. Let’s just say my ears disagree terribly with the result, and so the first half of that track is very unpleasant for me to sit through. I hate to harp on this, but when the rest of the album is pretty much perfect, and especially when there are two other vocalists on this album who provide excellent clean vocals without needing to use annoying voice effects, I just can’t help but wonder why the band thought this was a good idea. This is made all the more frustrating by the fact that, as I said earlier, the rest of that track is so amazing, and so I never end up skipping it, instead of forcing myself to endure those painful 2-3 minutes in which Paul appears.

Aside from that one horrible miscalculation, though, Aathma is a brilliant album from a band that continues to impress me, and I don’t want that one paragraph to scare listeners away, or even to upset fans of the band, as on a musical and compositional level this is progressive death metal at its absolute best, and every section not featuring Paul Masvidal is about as perfect as music gets. Persefone have long been one of my favorite metal bands and I hope they can continue to be great for many years to come, and I highly recommend this album and all their other album to all fans of extreme prog metal who like their music to be complex and adventurous. One frustration aside, this is still an early highlight in 2017, and in many ways some of the best work the band has done yet.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: http://myglobalmind.com/2017/02/26/persefone-aathma-review/

PERSEFONE Spiritual Migration

Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Spiritual Migration" is the 4th full-length studio album by Andorra based progressive death metal act Persefone. The album was released through ViciSolum Productions in March 2013. The news value and the novelty of Persefone being an Andorra based metal act (which is the first time I´ve ever heard of a metal band from that small country) has passed by now, and while the band´s debut album didn´t exactly make waves (it did turn heads), the two predecessors have really helped Persefone make a name for themselves. Not because the band come from an exotic country, but as a result of their high quality music on those releases.

The high quality of the output has not decreased on "Spiritual Migration". If anything the quality level has increased a notch or two. Persefone play a progressive type of melodic death metal. Soilwork is an obvious reference to my ears, but Persefone are generally far more progressive and keyboard heavy. There are extensive fast-paced harmony guitar/keyboard parts throughout the album. The vocals alternate between aggressive growling vocals and clean vocals.

The tracks are structurally challenging and features great dynamics, and as a result "Spiritual Migration" is a relatively varied listen. The tracklist includes both vocal tracks and a couple of instrumentals. The musicianship are outstanding on all positions. Persefone are arguably a very talented bunch. "Spiritual Migration" features a clear, professional and powerful sound production, so it´s safe to say that the band fire on all cylinders on this one. And with great success I might add. The only issue with "Spiritual Migration" is the 70:34 minutes long playing time. It´s not that the quality of the music drops at any point during the playing time, but a playing time that long is bound to exhaust the listener, when the music is as busy, detailed, and bombastic as the case is on "Spiritual Migration". On the other hand there is real value for the money here, so maybe I´m being a bit unfair. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

PERSEFONE Truth Inside the Shades

Album · 2004 · Progressive Metal
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Conor Fynes
'Truth Inside The Shades' - Persefone (6/10)

Before developing onward to the potent progressive death metal of their magnum opus 'Core', Andorran metal act Persefone was something fairly different. Something I have liked about this band is their ability to switch up their sound with each album, and on 'Truth Inside The Shades', their sound falls within the realm of keyboard-dense extreme gothic metal. Although the band's technical strength and flair for the dramatic is here early on, Persefone would not visibly reach their potential until a couple of years later.

The sound here is composed of blistering guitar licks rolling drumbeats, symphonic keyboards and raspy growls. The song 'The Whisper Of Men' aptly describes the direction the band takes here. Galloping riffs and heaviness abound for much of the song, but there is always room made for a few acoustic respites, in which some clean vocals take a showcase. For all intents and purposes, the sound is quite powerful, if perhaps a little unoriginal. However, while Persefone will certainly draw comparisons for the likes of a great many symphonic metal bands, their complex and energetic approach is laudable.

Where the sound of Persefone starts to grow weak is in the band's unabating focus on keyboards. Although keyboards are a staple for virtually all symphonic or progressive metal bands, the sheer amount of weight the keyboards have in the mixing here makes the music here sound somewhat cheesy, made no better by the fact that the keyboard tones are fairly weak. That being said, the musical skills of keyboardist Miguel Espinoza are not in question, but there is the sense even a minute into the second track that Persefone could have done alot better with a more guitar-centered sound.

'Truth Inside The Shades' is my least favourite of the works that Persefone has released, but that is no shame to them; they would only improve from here on, and later release 'Core', a truly excellent album of progressive death metal. For the sake of the band's debut however, 'Truth Inside The Shades' has some great moments, but the effect gets lost in the cheese.

PERSEFONE Core

Album · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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Conor Fynes
'Core' - Persefone (8/10)

Hailing from the tiny European nation of Andorra, this tourism hub would not be the first place someone would expect great progressive death metal to be born. Regardless, here is Persefone, an Andorran act that certain leaves no stone unturned when it comes to their musical vision and ambition. The second album of this band as well as my first introduction to the music of Persefone, 'Core' has proved to be an excellent find; a deep and complex journey of progressive extreme metal that screams 'epic' in every sense of the word. Suffice to say however, the album takes quite a few listens before one is able to truly appreciate the scope of it.

From the track listing alone, one can tell that this is not your typical death metal record. At three tracks each over twenty minutes in length, one can expect a foray into epic compositions with 'Core'. In terms of how well the band actually does this, I was pleasantly surprised. Often, I have been disappointed by bands that promise great things, and fail to deliver. While 'Core' may not have the perfection I would associate with a masterpiece, each track is wrought with incredible musical ideas. The band's sound is rooted in melodic death metal, at times sounding like a rawer version of Opeth. Throughout the course of one of these tracks, the listener is transported through a variety of different moods, each contributing to the mythical story the album seeks to tell.

Of particular surprise are the great female vocals here, which pop up several minutes into the album. Wonderfully harmonized, they provide an unexpected respite from the thrashy heaviness of the heavier segments. The death metal moments are done with almost as much success as the mellow parts however, although it does feel as if the rather lacking production of the album deters from what would otherwise have been a consistently stunning listen. Although the somewhat lo-fi studio work is typical of most underground metal and doesn't always hurt the product, the complexity of 'Core' doesn't lend well to being conveyed through anything less than clear production.

Another issue here is the fact that while Persefone makes good use of the track time for each song, each piece doesn't feel so much like a structured composition as it does a stream of great musical ideas, flowing one after the other. There are undoubtedly attempts to provide a sense of cohesion (especially in the first track, 'Sanctuary') but while all excellent pieces, they often feel scattered as compositions. The slight disorganization aside however, this does not stop 'Core' from being a consistently intriguing listen.

A fantastic piece of progressive death metal, and as much a grower as any other album you fill find in its genre; Persefone's 'Core' is an excellent concept album that begs not just a handful of listens, but a long lasting experience.

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