Memoreve – Insignia – EP Review

memoreve-cover

Artist: Memoreve

Album Title: Insignia EP

Label: Independent Release

Date Of Release: 21 October 2016

These are the moments that make running this blog so worthwhile. I got into this writing lark over a decade ago to bring great music to the attention of as many people as possible. Ten years later, the goal has not altered and I still sit here on my battered laptop, writing about the best music I can find. Occasionally, something will come along to make me really sit up and take notice, something I’ve never heard of before, something to make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. This is one such ‘something’ and it’s a pleasure to be able to write about it.

The ‘something’ here is UK based prog metal band Memoreve and their debut EP ‘Insignia’.

Knowing nothing of Memoreve until about five days ago, I naturally did some research. It turns out that whilst the name Memoreve might be new, the members who comprise the band are no strangers to the metal scene. That’s because the sextet of vocalist Colin Callanan, bassist Matt Hudson, keyboardist Adele Pease, guitarists Anthony Quinn and Alexander Green and drummer Ross Lavery have joined forces having been involved in the past with Power Quest and Dreamcatcher, names that might certainly be familiar to some.

I must admit that I wasn’t expecting an awful lot when I received the recommendation but as I’m always on the hunt for my next ‘discovery’, I followed up the suggestion. And by heavens am I glad I did, because ‘Insignia’ is magnificent.

I have listened to little else over the last few days because I’ve been so impressed with the music that Memoreve have created. To the point where I fervently wish that this wasn’t just a four-track EP. Twenty-five minutes is simply not enough.

Describing the output from Memoreve is more difficult than I first thought. ‘Insignia’ is most definitely progressive metal but there’s a lot more going on here than just ‘prog’. The music is technical but subtly so in many ways. You’ll not hear extended instrumental meanderings or gratuitous solos but you will hear adept musicianship, interesting song constructions and understated technicality, some of which only comes to light after a few spins.

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This is properly heavy music as well with a faint djent edge to some of the guitar tones and riffs. This keeps things nicely modern and relevant, albeit not cynically so. Then there are the keys – they are all over the compositions and, to these ears, are truly multi-dimensional. On the one hand, they add a depth and richness to the powerful metal that surrounds them. At other times, they take the music into minimalist ambient territories or create a dramatic symphonic and cinematic soundscape.

If I were to throw a few names around as reference points, I’d mention Darkwater due to the huge synth presence, Textures because of the modern technical aspects of the Memoreve sound and Evergrey simply because this is dark and moody, with melodies that speak to me.

The title track is a beautiful opener to this EP. It is all about the keys and guitars for the first couple of minutes. There’s a sci-fi feel to Pease’s hugely impressive performance; it’s cinematic, gorgeously melodic, intense and minimal but more than anything, it communicates real emotion. The guitars are effect-laden, clean and subtle, accenting the keys brilliantly. Then, just as I’m thinking this might be the pattern for the entirety of the composition, in comes the fantastic rumbling bass of Matt Hudson and a cool drum beat courtesy of Ross Lavery, enhanced by a seriously fat sound. I love how the rhythm section sounds but the drums are properly beefy, just how I like them to be. The guitars of Green and Quinn are finally allowed to cut free and do so with power and precision, delivering really interesting riffs. All too soon the track draws to a close, descending into ambient territory once again as it does so.

There’s no such lengthy intro to ‘These Reflections’, which comes out of the blocks fighting. Again I have to mention the production. I’ve mainly listened on high quality headphones but I’m very impressed every time I listen as each instrument has the space within the mix to shine. If I was nit-picking, I’d like a very slightly different sound for the guitar riffs but to be honest, I’m being churlish because I can’t really fault what I hear.

The riffs are sharp and precise yet again, the rhythm section pummels with aplomb and the synths are once again a dominant ingredient without ever overpowering proceedings. Without wanting to annoy the men within the band, I find it hard to not think of the synths as the band’s strongest weapon, such is their atmospheric impact throughout.

I realise at this point that I haven’t yet mentioned the vocals. Allow me to address this oversight right now. Colin Callanan fits the music pretty much perfectly. He is a more than adequate singer, able to deliver a convincing performance that conveys emotion via an impressive range, allowing him to belt out higher notes or tone things down as required. ‘Descendant’ is the ideal showcase for Callanan’s abilities, allowing his full range to be employed via the longest and arguably most varied track on the EP.

‘Insignia’ then ends with my personal favourite track, ‘Alleviate’. The melodies at play within this song are sublime, culminating in a chorus that’s a thing of tremendous beauty. Again, in keeping with the rest of the material, this is a dark, heavy and atmospheric monster that catches me and captures my imagination. I’m addicted.

I really cannot speak highly enough of Memoreve. OK, so this might only be a four-track debut EP, a brief view into the embryonic world of the band but if it is any indication of what is to come from this highly talented sextet, I foresee big things. Very big things indeed. This is symphonic progressive metal of the highest order and I cannot wait to hear what comes next.

The Score Of Much Metal: 8.5

If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others via my reviews pages or by clicking the links right here:

Enbound – The Blackened Heart
Blind Ego – Liquid
Dark Tranquillity – Atoma
Hammerfall – Built To Last
Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake
Crippled Black Phoenix – Bronze
Riverside – Eye Of The Soundscape
Hanging Garden – Hereafter
Theocracy – Ghost Ship
Arkona – Lunaris
Oddland – Origin
Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour
Edensong – Years In The Garden of Years
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
Alcest – Kodama
Opeth – Sorceress
Negura Bunget – ZI
Epica – The Holographic Principle
Amaranthe – Maximalism
Eye Of Solitude – Cenotaph
Seven Impale – Contrapasso
DGM – The Passage
Pressure Points – False Lights
In The Woods – Pure
Devin Townsend – Transcendence
The Pineapple Thief – Your Wilderness
Evergrey – The Storm Within
Dream The Electric Sleep – Beneath The Dark Wide Sky
Periphery – ‘Periphery III: Select Difficulty’
Karmakanic – Dot
Novena – Secondary Genesis
Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary
Eric Gillette – The Great Unknown
Tilt – Hinterland
Cosmograf – The Unreasonable Silence
Fates Warning – Theories Of Flight
Wolverine – Machina Viva
Be’lakor – Vessels
Lacuna Coil – Delirium
Big Big Train – Folklore
Airbag – Disconnected
Katatonia – The Fall Of Hearts
Frost* – Falling Satellites
Glorior Belli – Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes)
Habu – Infinite
Grand Magus ‘Sword Songs’
Messenger – Threnodies
Svoid – Storming Voices Of Inner Devotion
Fallujah – Dreamless
In Mourning – Afterglow
Haken – Affinity
Long Distance Calling – Trips
October Tide – Winged Waltz
Odd Logic – Penny For Your Thoughts
Iron Mountain – Unum
Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden
Novembre – Ursa
Beholder – Reflections
Neverworld – Dreamsnatcher
Universal Mind Project – The Jaguar Priest
Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again
InnerWish – Innerwish
Mob Rules – Tales From Beyond
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise To Sundown
Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
Rikard Zander – I Can Do Without Love
Redemption – The Art Of Loss
Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone
Chris Quirarte – Mending Broken Bridges
Sunburst – Fragments Of Creation
Inglorious – Inglorious
Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
Structural Disorder – Distance
Votum – Ktonik
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
Rikard Sjoblom – The Unbendable Sleep
Textures – Phenotype
Serenity – Codex Atlanticus
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
The Mute Gods – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
Arcade Messiah – II
Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts
Rendezvous Point – Solar Storm
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Antimatter – The Judas Table
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld

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