by Sammy M
POEM have captured exactly what it means to be a prog-metal band with their second album“Skein Syndrome”. Seven years after the release of their debut album seems a long time to wait in between albums, but “Skein Syndrome” is so incredibly complex and varied, that you can see exactly why it would take so long to write and record such a beast. It plays even more on what made the first album so good, with powerful but sombre vocals, technical guitar and bass, and ever changing drum beats that you can only get away with in this genre.
This album, like the first, draws inspiration from other prog bands such as OPETH in the best of ways. Throughout one song, it can change from mellow and eerie, to heavy and angry, then back again with such incredible ease that would have most bands scratching their heads wondering what just happened. The problem, however, is that by the end of the album this has become a touch predictable as it happens in most if not all of the songs on “Skein Syndrome”. This can be forgiven however, as every single song is so strong lyrically, vocally, and musically that they could get away with doing every album in this same style.
In true prog-metal style, most of the tracks on this album are on the long side with the shortest being five minutes and nine seconds long. Even in this song named “Weakness”, POEM manage to pack in a massive amount of variety jumping between tempos multiple times. One of the other shorter tracks “The End Justifies The Means”, is probably the most accessible song on the album and probably the one that most people will be drawn to. However it’s the two closing tracks that truly stand out.“Desire” is an absolutely beautiful song that goes from sounding sad and regretful, to progressively getting more aggressive throughout. Then “Remission of Breath” closes the album with the most aggressive song of the lot. In the same fashion as the rest, it manages to stay absolutely beautiful and constantly keep you guessing about where the song it going. This is the way prog should be, and it’s what POEM does so well.
I find it hard to find much of a problem with “Skein Syndrome”, and really the only drawbacks, is the fact that you know that every song will jump between the afore mentioned moods, and the fact that most songs don’t have a big hook, leading to them being not overly memorable. But this is in no way a bad thing, it just makes it slightly less accessible to some people. POEM have put out another great album this time around, and have the potential to show the world how true prog is done.