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The Progressive Souls Collective: Sonic Birth
The Progressive Souls Collective - Sonic Birth Album Art

Progressive Souls Collective: Sonic Birth

Progressive Metal
4.0/5.0

The Progressive Souls Collective and the debut album, Sonic Birth, is the brainchild of German guitarist Florian Zepf. It's an ambitious and massive recording of modern progressive metal. To accomplish the task, Zepf was able to enlist the talent of some major league prog players. These musicians include drummer Aquiles Priester (Tony MacAlpine), bassist Conner Green (Haken), Kevin Moore (O.S.I., Chroma Key) for loops and programming, percussionist Luis Conte (Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, et al), and keyboard player Derek Sherinian (Sons Of Apollo, et al). Vocals are provided by Vladimir Lalic (Organized Chaos), a trained up opera singer. Check out these two links to learn more about the project and the album and the participants.

Florian Zepf - Click For Larger Image

Florian Zepf

To say that Sonic Birth is ambitious and massive is truly an understatement. Besides all the aforementioned players, there are more musicians and instruments involved including violins, viola, and cello, but also fiddle, harp, Uillean pipes, flutes, clarinet, oboe, and horns. The question is, are they heard? More on that in a moment. Lyrically, I believe the songs explore deep intellectual, emotional, and psychological subjects, but lyrics were not supplied. One song, Destiny Inc, has at least 15 references (which can be found on the album link above) from what appear to be philosophers and a biochemist. Brain freeze.

So, musically, what's going on here? A simple distillation would be to call The Progressive Collective Project sound expansive, heavy, and dense progressive metal strongly informed by thick layers of synths, programming, and riffage. Yet, with this in mind, the commanding participants are definitely Sherinian's keyboards and Zepf's wall of riffage. They're practically overwhelming. Thankfully, they don't decimate the vocals (for the most part).

Honestly, it will take you several listens to dissect this material to find the subtleties and nuances within the arrangements. For instance, on my first spin I wasn't sure I heard a Zepf guitar solo, simply because everything is so dense and busy. But the are there and notable within Metature, Killing Beliefs, or A Formula For Happiness. But I'm not sure about some of those aforementioned additional instruments. By example, I couldn't find the horns within Hurt. I suppose they are there. Nor could I hear the violins, viola, or cello within Metature or the lengthy prog monster Destiny Inc. My favorite song on the album, You And Me Alone, which features a duet with vocalist Megan Burtt, includes fiddle, harp, clarinet, oboe, and more, but you better pay attention because they could be easily be mistaken for synths or programming. As I said, there's much to explore within Sonic Birth, if you have temperament, time, and patience. Nevertheless, The Progressive Collective Project and Sonic Birth offers listeners a rich ensemble cast of international prog musicians delivering some creative and impressive progressive metal. Recommended.




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The Bottom Line

The Progressive Collective Project and Sonic Birth offers listeners a rich ensemble cast of international prog musicians delivering some creative and impressive progressive metal. Recommended.

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