LIQUID RAIN – Bright Obscurity (2012)
Released at the end of past year, “Bright Obscurity” is the debut album from young new Progressive metal outfit LIQUID RAIN which is already garnering much acclaim world-wide for its fresh take on the classic stylings of the genre.
Hailing from Berna, Switzerland, the group was founded in 2009 by guitarist Dario Colombo and keyboardist Cyril Stoller and they have a big sound — mostly focused on setting up killer, often really heavy grooves and melodies that allow the band to really stretch out but not in a showy way.
They do have some vocals reminiscent of the great Russell Allen (just more gritty), as well as a guest female singer on two of the songs, and have an amazing knack for coming up with really interesting ideas that fit so well together.
“Bright Obscurity” is a clever title as the songwriting – particularly the lyrics – are gifted for terminology, the guys surely have a soft spot for playing with words, puns and methodical semantic technical like the Oxymoron.
For such a young band, their music is highly polished and extremely well composed. The opener “The Crooked Path of Life” starts with a great heavy melody that keeps building in intensity with elaborated guitar and keyboard lines over powerful, heavy hooks and has just the perfect intense low-end piano figure near the end of the song.
“Fast Food” is another great hook-filled song that has a great acoustic Spanish guitar part near the end. “Homeless” is almost catchy and commercial (there’s a radio edit version for promotion), while the instrumental “Colored Darkness” is plenty of guitar/keys battles with fine melodies.
On the beautiful power ballad “So Far Away” they have a guest female vocalist; Janine Hulliger, the lead singer of another Swiss prog metal band Fragment of Symmetry and who I believe is the sister of the band’s drummer.
She’s also the singer on the closing epic “System of Illusion” which is divided in four parts (not too long each), and like all epics goes through many changes with polyrhythmic drumming, guitar breaks and synth infusions augmented by a sax player building to a powerful climax.
There are so many great ideas on “Bright Obscurity” from a band evolving in a quite biased style even if their musical range is spreading up, above and all over the Prog Metal genre, so it’s easy to name the different influences from Dream Theater to Allen-Lande to Ayreon with the huge prominence of synthetic soundscapes.
For those of you a bit disappointed by the new, more stripped-down direction of some classic Prog Metal bands (Circus Maximus for example), then Liquid Rain might just be the band for you, as their layers are really heavy at places, but they also know how to write great sophisticated interludes in their songs.
The self-handled production is fine while the mixing by Simon Beck is very clean, maybe a little clinical but very precise and professional.
I could be wrong but I’d be hard pressed to name any Progressive Metal groups from Switzerland (unless of course you count some periods of legends Celtic Frost) so Liquid Rain might just be leading the way to new Prog scene out of their country.
“Bright Obscurity” is a solid, sharp, true Prog Metal album.
1. The Crooked Path of Life
2. The Ordeal
3. Fast Food
5. So Far Away
6. Colored Darkness
7. Rising from Seclusion
8. System of Illusions:
Dario Colombo – Guitars
Jeff Zopfi – Bass
Cyril Stoller – Keyboards
Roman Hulliger – Drums
Janine Hulliger – Lead Vocals
Norbert Suppiger – Lead Vocals
BUY IT !