Progressive metal band Echosilence has been around in Estonia since 1996. Soon they will have existed for 10 years and to this day they have yet to record a full length album (and I'm starting to wonder if they will ever get to it). "Distorted Horizon" is their first recording with new songs since their last demo in 1997. Even though you might expect the band to gather material for a full album, you are nevertheless served with a 30 minute mini CD.
One thing the band is notorious for is working their songs over and over to come up with something that would be almost, but not quite impossible, to play. This approach can probably be held responsible for the small amount of releases. But the product is worth it: the result is layered and so packed with music that you would need some heavy tools to make room for anything.
"Distorted Horizon" has a bit of a controversial sound. Its rhythm is pretty fast and varied yet the songs are long and somewhat slow, but still don't drag. On one hand there are heavy guitars that to some extent go to shredding creating the wall of sound. This is where the death and thrash metal roots of some of the members can be heard. On the other hand you have guitars that sound clean and high, with lots of pedal work, drawing beautiful influences from Jazz. And you get them all separately, alternating and together. The aerial background and high guitars with a touch of echo (I wonder if it has anything to do with their name) and some rare dubbing create the impression of a large hall most of the time. This all accounts for music that is somewhat hard to follow but at the same time has a sense of uniqueness while you listen to it.
Having been an instrumental band for quite a long time I was anxious to hear their new female vocalist Kadri. I have not been disappointed. She only manages to add her input to the controversial sound. Her voice is extremely clear and pretty high. I didn't really expect this and it was a big surprise. It took me a while to get used to having such a clear voice featured on songs that would normally have some powerful and strong male vocals. Don't get me wrong; Kadri's doing an amazing job and I really love the result. What you can find annoying though is her pronunciation. Because of the nature of the music some sentences are stressed unexpectedly and words have emphasis in the wrong place. It doesn't bother if you listen to it openly but if you try to follow the lyrics you'll find it a bit difficult.
Echosilence is a very skillful outfit; not too technical but still complex. For me they are one of the rare bands that play the ball in the right direction on the field that is Estonian metal scene. There are just too few bands that have what it takes to make such music. And if you add their rare live appearances it makes anything done by Echosilence an important event on its own. If you get a chance, listen to this release. This band deserves a wider audience.
PS. Echosilence has one track featured on Metal Storm Follow the Storm Vol. XI compilation. Check it if you can.