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SIMULACRUM Sky Divided

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Thursday, January 21, 2016 @ 4:42 PM


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SIMULACRUM
Sky Divided

2015 Inverse Records




Finnish prog metal band SIMULACRUM has returned with Sky Divided, their second studio album and follow-up to 2012’s debut album The Master And The Simulacrum. A few lineup changes occurred since the debut album. Original members Niklas Broman (vocals), Chrism (keyboards), Nicholas Pulkkinen (guitars) and Olli Hakala (bass) welcomed new members Henri Kallio (drums) and second guitarist Petri Mäkilä.

To these ears, this new album is an improvement over the debut. The songs are more accessible, more focused, and a little heavier. SIMULACRUM’s chops cannot be denied, and they are on full display on Sky Divided. Niklas Broman’s vocals are noteworthy; I think he has stepped up his game on this album. The production and mix have both been upgraded as well; the album sounds organic and dynamic, and not over-produced. After the intriguing instrumental intro “Timelapse”, the superb track “Behind The Belt Of Orion” blasts forth with a relentless tempo and a heavy riff. This song reminds me a little of SYMPHONY X, and that’s not a bad thing. “Broken” follows, a track with several time changes and an interesting saxophone solo. The band shot a concept video for the next track, “Embrace The Animal Within”. This song has a fiery guitar riff, an outstanding keyboard riff, plenty of double bass drumming and an exceptional chorus.

The war-themed “Deep In The Trenches”, which the band also shot a video for, is perhaps the heaviest song on Sky Divided. There are some serious grooves played on the seven-string guitars and six-string bass on this track. “The Abomination” is possibly the most challenging track here, an 11-minute crushing prog metal wet dream. There are several different sections of this track to enjoy, and the extended guitar and keyboard solos are fantastic. The frenetic title track follows, which is another enjoyable moment on the album, but pales in comparison to the speedy, pummeling groove of space-themed “Enter Hyperion”. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The album ends with the monster 14-minute song “A New Beginning”, a track that gives you everything the band can offer in one package. This song must be heard; I can’t possibly describe it in words.

SIMULACRUM is relatively new to the prog metal scene, but this young band is brimming with world-class talent. They definitely have a long and bright future ahead of them. The album consists of nine quality up-tempo prog metal songs, lasting just over an hour. The cover artwork is well done also. Sky Divided is a fantastic album that should appeal to fans of bands such as SYMPHONY X, KAMELOT and CIRCUS MAXIMUS.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

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