Distorted Harmony – Chain Reaction
Distorted Harmony – Chain Reaction (2014)
Reviewed by Mark Nagy
Distorted Harmony is a progressive metal band from Israel that plays absurdly catchy songs with intricate rhythms and incredibly precise performances. Chain Reaction is actually the band’s second album, and it’s available on both Spotify and Youtube directly from the band. The brand of progressive metal here is one that I would most closely associate with Caligula’s Horse, but with a hint of Dream Theater in there too, as well as some similarities to Voyager.
Like the aforementioned Voyager, Distorted Harmony manages a tightrope between songs that are musically advanced and diverse, yet still ‘catchy’ in the traditional, accessible sense. “Every Time She Smiles” is easily one of the best prog choruses I’ve heard this year, and it’s built around a really cool staggered rhythm, with an excellent vocal performance and a masterfully executed bridge built around some good ol’ choir ‘wooooo-ah’s.
From there, the album continues to fire on all cylinders for much of the first half. Lots of syncopated rhythms, soaring vocals, and mega-heavy riffs characterize the album. It’s got every element of a great melodic progressive work, and for the most part delivers startlingly good results. There’s a slight dip in quality about two thirds of the way through the album however, particularly with “Hollow,” which starts as a promising chord progression reminiscent of early Porcupine Tree, but quickly settles into the most Dream Theater-inspired track on the album. Here, that’s code for “pretty much uninspired, by the books prog metal”. “As You Go” is similarly uninspired, though well executed, but ultimately a bit pointless. Thankfully, the album recovers with the exceptional “Natural Selection” – another uptempo track with an awesome hook in the chorus.
The first song to really grab me on this record, and my current favorite, is “Misguided”. It’s built around the album’s most memorable guitar riff, and has one of the best intros I’ve heard to any prog metal track in years. From there, it’s 8 minutes of music that’s built mostly around different forms of that riff as the song builds and releases tension. It’s certainly as complex as any great progressive metal record, but it’s not the technicality that stands out to me about Distorted Harmony, but rather the band’s ability to create powerful contrasts within their songs.
I will certainly endorse Distorted Harmony to anyone that will listen. Chain Reaction lacks consistency in some places, but wherever the band is able to make ‘it’ work, things are nothing short of brilliant, tugging contrasts of technicality and accessibility, as well as both rhythmic and melodic brilliance. Even if there’s a growing list of bands that won’t travel into Israel to play music, it seems like there’s an emergent scene within the country that will fill that void.
4.0 // 5