Haunting piano descends alongside an upfront and raw vocal lead for the striking and conceptually intriguing opener to Iochroma’s new album.
Sphere is far from the heavy-metal intensity of the subsequent playlist, but it draws you in, presenting an intimate, acoustic and unsettling pathway into the sheer weight and scream of The Fregoli Delusion that comes afterwards.
Richmond, VA band Iochroma design these intense audio experiences with stories and progressive-metal tendencies at their core. Blend fast fingers and manic drums with unapologetic vocals and an intriguing underlying tale, and The Hideous Triumphs of Form and Function is off to a fierce and interesting start.
Scramblehead follows on with a more recognisable guitar sound and some chaotic pairing of layers – there’s also an effective use of contrast, particularly during the latter half. The re-emergence of this genre comes with attention to detail, purposeful creativity, and faultless, fearless commitment to the moment. Iochroma delve into things with all of this.
Other highlights include an equally juxtaposed, heavy then briefly melodic and haunting Simulation Theory. That voice has character now, it’s memorable, and the band increasingly leave their mark with the production and performance qualities.
Later on, Shadows Of Amber allows for a moment of quiet reflection. An acoustic piece, lyrically up-front to guide us through the intentions of the album with a little light and clarity. Crystal Reign takes a similarly spacious and melodic route, piano-kissed and theatrical in its unpredictable structure and progression.
Then we get the sheer power and force of Phantasmagorium to reignite the fire of this hideously triumphant album – and a near-twelve-minute, sci-fi-esque smash of a journey that is Ck-34b to finish.
A concept project, meaningful and with the meaning held accountable throughout. Iochroma have their way with creativity, and hold close to the progressive metal sound and style in a passionate way.