Distorted – Memorial
16/06/2006 § Leave a comment
In what has been quite a dry year for female-fronted metal, Distorted came very much as a relief to me. Having become a little tired of the sounds of the more mainstream and popular bands, this lot snared me from the first few minutes of their album. It seems that a lot of female-fronted metal, the more I listen to it, sounds increasingly similar. What is needed – and what becomes ever more scarce with the inception of newer femme bands – is some originality and inventiveness. For me, Distorted pretty much filled all the criteria and being from Israel, they manage to communicate their music with a sincere and authentically executed Middle-eastern flair.
The most accurate description of Distorted’s music is progressive death metal since there are multiple time and rhythm changes, male growls and the exquisite vocals of Miri Milman. Miri has a very competent and confident air to her voice, as well as a characteristic tone which is lacking from a lot of females in the femme-metal scene. Her vocals are perfectly complemented by Raffy Mor’s growls, which are sharp and wicked over the thickness of the guitars. This seems to be a band who put a great deal of care into their work and the vocals are just the tip of the iceberg since Memorial is very much a work borne out of assiduousness and devotion. This is not an album which has been slapped together in order to throw something onto plastic. It has been thought through and concentrated on, and this is clearly noticeable.
Distorted cite their main influences as Opeth and Nevermore though the songs have hardly any acoustic sections so the main changes throughout are noted mostly through tempo or register. As well as this, the riffs are played more on the rhythm guitar than as solos, meaning the songs are easier to become acquainted with in spite of their diversity. In this way Distorted recognise the power of simplicity – they don’t try to get too many things happening at the same time, so that when the rhythm sections are pumping away, they don’t shove a whiny solo over the top for good measure and the guitar solos, when present, are not sludged by over-enthusiast rhythm work. The power of the music speaks for itself and, mingled with the solid production, the overall effect is very gratifying and delightfully gritty.
After multiple listens it becomes clear just how good the formula is: In Your Light is a superb album opener as we’re led in by Miri’s smooth vocals before the guitars slam in to a wonderful intro, then there’s the marvel that is the title track, Sometimes and Is It The Wind, all with their quieter sections and leading, heavier rhythm segments. However, by far the best song on the album is Redemption which never drops for a moment and has some absolutely fabulous riffs in it. Sadly, the album in its entirety doesn’t live up to the standards of its more successful moments and though tracks like Children Of Fall and Flesh And Blood start very strongly with good guitarwork and percussion, they kind of trail into nothingness around the mid-section to the end and are overshadowed by the effectiveness of other songs on the album.
As a whole though, Memorial is very much a success – especially as a debut album. Comparisons with Orphaned Land are inevitable and the music that the two bands make shares a similar panache but Distorted are punchier and the music is easier to become familiar with, making Memorial a fantastic starting block for any band. The flawless vocals of Miri mingled with the band’s formidable songwriting and Middle-eastern elegance makes this album a sure-fire winner, and as much as I’m enjoying its refinement I can’t wait to see what they will offer next. Memorial is, as far as I am concerned, the first truly good release of 2006 and I am very excited to see where this band will go in the future. Distorted are unquestionably a diamond in the rough and I hope we’re able to treasure them for a long time to come.