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Vivalma - 'Human Effect' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/bd/7c/c7/vivalma-human-effect-98-1411677249.jpg Hot

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For a debut album ‘Human Effect’ is quite a statement.

A new name to me and no doubt to many of you, Brazilian Progressive Metal band Vivalma hail from Sao Paolo and this review of their debut album was offered to me by our Reviews Ed. To hook me in he quoted their influences from their press release including Rush, Dream Theater and Symphony X amongst others, but those don’t begin to do justice to the band’s wide palette of sound, so if you throw in everyone from Camel to Muse and Pink Floyd to Opeth, you might begin to understand just how diverse they are.

As expected with this genre, the players are of a high standard with everything powered along by the technical drumming and subtle percussion of Lello Araujo and Raphael Filt’s dextrous bass, while guitarist Odilon Goncalves and keyboardist Gus Martins provide the layers of mood and melody. However, it would all be pointless if singer Marco Petucco couldn’t do their different styles justice with a fine tone and nary a hint of accent. He’s no Russell Allen but he certainly doesn’t let the side down, be it as a soaring high tenor, a mid-range croon or even a distorted Death Metal growl, which he does only on a couple of short segments. The ten songs are all suitably grandiose and range from the Metallic five minute ‘Deviant’ to the sixteen minute, three part epic at the end that shares the band’s name. Rather than each song carrying a different style, the band have cleverly woven multiple styles into each song, giving a constant ebb and flow that never becomes predictable.

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Highlights include the three song ‘Envision’ suite, which between them cover everything from a lush a cappella opening to waves of Modern Metal and beautiful Neo-Prog with impressive synth solos and Bluesy guitar. You get harmony vocals, impressive piano and acoustic guitar work and wild ensemble arpeggios at breakneck speed in ‘Touch, Feel & Flow’, heartfelt emotion in the stirring ‘Locked And Fading’ and intense melodrama in ‘Proudhome’. My personal favourite is the more accessible ‘Solitude’ which has melodies and a guitar solo that remind me of the much missed Enchant.

For a debut album ‘Human Effect’ is quite a statement; whilst it’s currently only available as a download from all the usual online retailers, a physical version would require two discs because of its eighty-three minute length. The excellent production of Adriano Daga and Brendan Duffey is certainly comparable to the more successful bands operating in this field, so unless the band want otherwise, I would suggest Vivalma’s ‘Human Effect’ is a baton that a bigger, specialist label should pick up and run with.

Phil Ashcroft

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