Vidian is a Polish post-metal band with some experimental, progressive, and death metal elements. Take note people who are not into their death metal being “tainted” with post-metal. If you’re open minded enough, I think some parts work well.
The first track already kicks the album off with some interesting innovations to the genre. About a third of the way through the song we get a trumpet solo, and it is excellent.
I know, trumpet + guitar makes you cringe and think ska, but this is not that. Think more Miles Davis “Blue in Green” with post-metal accompaniment (but with less harmonic complication). The melody is long and flowing and probably semi-improvised.
The vocals might be a turn off for some. I’m kind of on the fence about them. They consist of a cross between screaming and clean vocals in order to get some pitch content. They transition between varying amounts of cleans within songs to match the intensity of the music. This is a good idea in theory, but I find the end result a mix.
The second track is probably the weakest. There is a ton of chugging on a single note with a dance rock beat under it. I think this is where the post-metal elements harm the album. This track has nothing progressive and very little death metal about it, and the album succeeds best when it merges these elements.
The third track gets back to something more interesting. Two guitars arpeggiate in syncopation and in such a way as to get lots of major and minor seconds to create a constantly shifting dissonance. This has its fair share of chugging, but it isn’t as bad here.
I won’t continue track by track, but I’ll highlight some other standout moments. Track 6 plays with time in an interesting way. I believe it is in 4, but the drum feels like 3 by moving the snare hit by a beat each measure, so you only get alignment every 4 measures (or maybe they’re thinking about it in a totally different way).
The last two tracks are probably their heaviest with the most interesting level of dissonance, noise, distortion, and build up. It reminds me of more classic post-metal which focused on building to large climactic endings and experimented more with electronics.
I think fans of the latest Tesseract or Ulcerate will find something to like in this. What I like is that they have progressive elements without compromising their overall sound. Like the bands I mentioned, they use some rock grooves with heavier elements and use dissonance in a harmonic sense to create tension. They never veer into the chaotic nonsense of many prog bands.
Be warned, this is still pretty straightforward with standard chord progressions and 4/4 time signatures. The album is not itself progressive even though it contains progressive elements. There’s also basically no memorable melodic material. Much of the lead guitar work centers on outlining chords rather than interesting riffs.
Overall, I’ll give this a 7/10. There’s stuff I absolutely love, but there are other moments that strike me as too commercial (almost System of a Down or some-other-commercial-metal-band-I-can’t-think-of). I’ve enjoyed my time with it, but it didn’t deliver like I thought it would after my first listen.
Here’s a sample: