I have been lucky to hear many Polish prog bands over the years, and this 2008 debut from Votum has brought another into my area of knowledge. Now, Poland isn't a country that many Western progheads would necessarily think of as being a hotbed, but over the years there have been some great bands (think SBB, Collage, Satelite to name just a few) and of course Riverside has made a huge impression on everyone. With this release, Votum deserve very much to be spoken about in the same sentence. When one looks at the CD cover the impression is one of darkness and menace, and isn't hard to imagine that the music inside is Black Metal, but instead we have one of the most atmospheric and interesting debuts from recent years that I have heard.
Yes, when they decide that the time is right they can punch out the heavy metal riffs and give us some symphonic passages that wouldn't sound out of place with Therion or Nightwish, but often it is the 'menacing threat' that takes this forward. It is simply one of the most atmospheric albums I have heard, and while there are times when it sounds more like Negură Bunget than Pink Floyd or Porcupine Tree, it is also true that all these bands have obviously had an influence. The vocals are in English, and for the most part are melodic without too much of an accent.
This isn't going to be for everyone, as it straddles so many genres and sub-genres, but I urge anyone interested in hearing great rock music, whatever label people saddle it with, to search it out. www.progrockrecords.co m or www.votumband.pl