4/5 – “”Unique” is a very interesting progressive alternative metal album to be discovered!”
Greek progressive metal bands are few and far between. That’s one reason to take the time to listen to what they have to say. In Poem’s case, the kinship with his fellow countryman Mother Of Millions is immediately obvious. Nothing could be more normal, both bands share the same singer, George Prokopiou. In fact, the frontman founded Poem in 2006. But the combo took a long time to find its feet and a stable line-up, so that “Unique” is only the Athenians’ third album.
If Prokopiou’s bewitching and emotional voice is immediately recognizable, the comparison between Poem and Mother Of Millions almost stops there. Even if some influences are common to both bands, mainly Tool on some riffs (‘Unique’, ‘Brightness Of Loss’), Poem’s music is not atmospheric and evolves rather in a progressive rhythmic metal register at the border of alternative metal, like Soen with whom the Hellenes have a lot in common (‘Euthanasia’).
“Unique” is mainly based on groove. Relying on the enormous work of bassist Takis Foitos and the surgical precision of drummer Stavros Rigos, Poem likes to muddle the tracks, keeping the listener constantly attentive by multiplying rhythmic breaks within the same track (‘Discipline’) and flirting more than once with the typical syncopations of the djent (‘My Own Disorder’).
In these conditions, apart from the track ‘False Morality’ which remains the easiest to access, the album requires a very attentive listening to grasp all its richness. Yet its relative hermeticism is also its strength, as the compositions remain interesting precisely thanks to their convoluted constructions, mixing powerful riffs, silky arpeggios, clear and very melodic vocals, discreet screaming vocals and aerial guitar soli (‘Euthanasia’).
All Poem’s know-how thus lies in his ability to multiply ambiences within compositions that are constantly evolving, focusing on groove and melody rather than pure technique. Even if it’s not revolutionary, “Unique” is therefore a very interesting progressive alternative metal album to be discovered!