• 9/10
    SIMULACRUM - Genesis - 9/10


Frontiers Music
Release date: February 12, 2021

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Progressive Metal music, perhaps more than any subgenre of Metal, exists with a myriad of demands making the potentiality of artistic success so narrow one marvels at the rare cases where success is achieved. Working with a margin of error as infinitesimally small as the scientific scenarios they often sing about, Progressive Metal bands work in a liminal space where if just a single element falls short of the high standards required, the entire project collapses under its own ponderous weight. Pick just about any other subgenre of Metal and one finds many examples of good if not great bands and projects exist with faulty parts. Stupid lyrics in the newest Sleaze Metal release? Who cares when you’ve got a guy who can sing like that. Can’t understand a single word on the new gargle-voiced Thrash album? Doesn’t really matter when the twin guitars shred like that. Prog works differently; a single weak part makes the whole machine collapse.

All truths that make finding a successful Progressive Metal album such a thrilling, singular joy. With Genesis, Finnish band Simulacrum have achieved true lift off, delivering a sonic masterpiece that clicks all of the pre-launch boxes–exceptional musicianship at all positions, high quality and emotive singing from not one but two vocalists, and interesting, thought-provoking lyrical concepts. The band manages a credible single or two among the epic-length tunes; both “Arrhythmic Distortions” and especially “Nothing Remains” can exist comfortably outside of the album, perfectly suited as early entries on “Best of 2021” playlists.

With Genesis, their third album, Simulacrum made the interesting choice to add a second vocalist, bringing Erik Kraemer to add texture and harmony to mainstay Niklas Broman’s clean delivery. The risk pays off with a greater depth and impact; their blend adding shades of urgency to an already powerful mix. The musicianship scintillates with an equal balance to that of the vocal, with each member taking their turn in the spotlight but with no one player overpowering the team as so frequently happens with Progressive projects where, usually, either a guitarist or keyboard player destabilizes everything with an overabundance of notes. Bassist Olli Hakala deserves special mention, however. All too frequently the bassist gets forced to the background, but on Genesis Olli takes an equal position, nimbly cutting loose with solos when required or matching the precision and power of new drummer Tatu Turunen beat for beat.

Songwriter/keyboardist Christian Pulkkinen orchestrated a major leap forward for Simulacrum with Genesis, drawing top shelf performances from his aforementioned colleagues as well as the two guitarists, brother Nicholas and Petri Mäkilä. Their name belies their reality; Simulacrum is no weak imitation, they’re Prog Metallists at the top of their profession.


  • Daniel Waters

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. Iron Maiden’s Piece Of Mind wasn’t the first Metal album he owned, but it was the one that lifted the lid off his soul when he received the record as a gift on his 15th birthday. He's been a Metal fan ever since. He's probably best known as the author of various Young Adult novels such as the Generation Dead series and the ghost story Break My Heart 1,000 Times, now also a major motion picture entitled I Still See You, starring Bella Thorne. Writing and music, especially Heavy Metal music, has always been inextricably linked in his mind and career. His first paid gig doing any type of writing was for Cemetery Dance, where he wrote a horror-themed music column called Dead Beats, and when he was writing the first Generation Dead novel he had a ritual where he started his writing day with a Metal playlist that kicked off with “Crushing Belial” by Shadows Fall.

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