Power of Metal.dk Review

Harvest Moon
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: 8 February, 2013
Playing time: 67:11

While everyone (including myself) is swooning over Riverside's newest release, another Polish band quietly released their third album. Votum released "Harvest Moon" in close proximity to Riverside's SONGS, and I honestly don't know if this will hurt them or not. However, I do know that it will produce much comparison between the albums.

Votum is Progski---that combination of dark rock and prog rock that seems to be so abundant in Poland. Votum is certainly influenced by Riverside, and it could be seen on Votum's first two releases. Yet, I believe that Votum has created their own niche in Progski. This niche is giving Riverside fans what they want to hear. What do I mean? I mean that Votum gives us the melancholy vocals and ambiance; the high-tuned, towering guitars; the driving bass lines; the spacey, beautiful keys; and the amazing drums that Riverside presented in their Reality Dream trilogy. Yet, Riverside has moved on to other sounds (excellent ones, at that), and Votum is filling that craving and adding twists of their own devise as well. I can't be any more pleased with that.

"Harvest Moon" continues the Votum tradition of giving melancholy atmospheres, some well-done prog metal sections, and (most importantly to them) soul-splitting lyrics. Yes, Votum has some of the best lyrics in the business. They really grab your heart by the neck and force you to feel something. I really admire this aspect of the band. So, the high points of Votum's albums often have to deal more with emotional impact than with musical genius. Thus, the high points of this album are "Cobwebs", "New Made Man" (my favorite), "Dead Ringer", and "Coda" (not to be confused with Riverside's final track on their latest album). "New Made Man" has especially amazed me its raw emotional content. So, Votum has once again created a masterpiece of emotive story-telling.

That is not to say that the musicianship is unworthy of discussion, however. The guitarmanship is as amazing as ever, and I felt that the drums were a step up from their previous outings (way better than any that Riverside has ever produced). Indeed, the band has stepped up the metal portions considerably this time (people complained about their last albums' focus on ballads), and they really bring it at points---tastefully, just like everything else. The one part that really stood out to me this time is the bass. The bass lines on this album are phenomenal, and they really create a somber mood that completely envelops the listener. These bass lines culminate on "Dead Ringer" that opens with an amazing bass line that will stick with you for a long time. Lastly, the vocals, while taking some time to get used to, are emotive and wonderfully performed.

So, as 2013 has begun, we already are getting some amazing prog. I urge fans of Riverside, Porcupine Tree, heavy prog, and prog metal to give this band and album a try. Votum doesn't have the instantly recognizable name, but their music begs to change this fact. This album, like their others, is an experience in emotion, angst, desperation, and melancholy; It truly is powerful, and beats Riverside at their own game in several spots. I hope to see more from this band for many years to come.

01. Vicious Circle
First Felt Pain
New Made Man
Ember Night
Steps in the Gloom
Dead Ringer
Numb (Reprise)
Label: Mystic Production
Distribution: Itunes
Artwork rating: 97/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 11 March, 2013
Website: www.votumband.pl