[ECLIPSE Records, 2019]
Intro: Lefteris Statharas
Translation: L. Statharas, D. Kaltsas
25 / 09 / 2019
The second album of SixForNine is upon us and after their debut we were eagerly awaiting for the continuation which comes four years later. Their crossover / alternative prog metal sounds made their music accessible to a wide variety of audiences and they added themselves to the growing number of bands from our country that populate the genre.
The new album is called Parallel Universe and it was recorded in Deva Soundz Studios of singer Fotis Bernardo who also produced the album. Additionally, the album was mixed by Paul Pavao (Distrurbed, Stone Temple Pilots) and mastered by Tom Baker (Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Motley Crue). The question remains is can the band keep the momentum from their first album and their live appearances while producing quality music.
SixForNine begun their musical journey in 2011 but it wasn’t until 2015 when they released their debut album and created their own wave in the pond of Greek alternative prog metal bands. However, all of the members have many years of service in the music industry with varying levels of success. One thing led to another and they combined their strengths to record and release a debut album that was a good introduction to their alt metal sound with progressive influences. And exactly because of the years of experience this band has elevated expectations.
In many ways the songwriting is similar. The opener Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining begins with a heavy guitar-oriented sound with lots of changes from heavy riffs to melodic guitar parts to lead the chorus. Life Devouring Demons has a similar vibe and come as a steamroller with the chugging and the charging rhythm section. Immediately from the first two songs it is evident that the band is focusing more on the accessibility of their songs and trying to make a broader “radio friendly” (as much as radio friendly heavy music can be) sound.
The sound is quite over polished, and it is definitely affected by the two people that mixed and mastered the album. While there are obvious similarities to the songwriting with the debut the change in the mixing and mastering faces has an obvious effect to their sound to a more American rock sound. While the production values help create a very big sound that helps with the groovy riffs. However, this over compressed and saturated sound doesn’t give any space for the songs to breathe and allow the structured layers to be clearer.
Counting Stars (a Parallel Universe) is a good example where the song writing has “forced” some time for the passages to breathe and reveal the multiple layers in the band’s songwriting. Even if the production gives no sense of adventure, this song is a great example of songwriting and undoubtable talent that this band has. On the other hand there are definitely songs like “Out of the Blue” and “Sea of Lies” that will be festival favorites that will allow the crowd to groove, headbang and mosh freely.
The sophomore album of SixForNine definitely shows similarities with the previous release but at the same time embarks in the bands more American sound that inevitably makes them lose some parts of their adventurous identity in order to give more way to the straightforward and concert oriented songs.
7 / 10
The second SixforNine album was a surprise to me. Without particularly knowing their music and their course as a band, the music in Parallel Universe made me passionate about their work. The combination of modern metal that is full of passion and intensity, the melodies especially in the vocals, the ease of handling their influences ranging from nu metal to Tool and even hard rock are the least exciting. The question that automatically arises from the above is where is prog found in their newly released tracks? In some, such as the title song, this particular mood is evident and the extent of the song allows it to shine in a remarkable way. In most tracks, prog is cleverly grafted under multilevel sound, e.g. in Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining (the drums remind of Hypnotize by S.O.A.D.) or cleverly avoided to let the explosiveness of the rest take place to the full. Parallel Unieverse is just an explosion and the listener stays in place to enjoy it.
8.5 / 10