Iapetus – The Long Road Home (Review)

IapetusThis is the debut album from Iapetus, a progressive death metal band from the US.

Okay, here we have – deep breath – atmospheric, progressive, melodic death metal. Well, that wasn’t so bad, actually.

This is a real labour of love; a colossal hour and a quarter of music that mixes elements of bands such as Alcest, Wintersun, Dark Tranquillity, Ne Obliviscaris, Emperor, Opeth, Agalloch, Katatonia, Fallujah and In Flames together into a rich, sumptuous package.

The Long Road Home is brave, ambitious and loaded with enough talented content to see the album succeed. The music is very well-written, fusing the various elements of the band’s influences together into songs that are involved and complex while also remaining emotive and engaging.

The album takes the listener on a journey through seductive soundscapes, teasing them to explore their surroundings, and giving up more and more secrets as the album is played again and again. It’s a cosmic exploration of epic proportions, and in the hands of less-accomplished musicians I’m sure it wouldn’t work as well as it does here.

Sharp screamed vocals attack with grace and fervour as the music turns, twists and melodically flows through the long playing time of the main tracks. Speed and aggression are tempered by atmosphere and melody, with emotive passages never being too far away from the main assault.

To speak in aggressive terms about the music here doesn’t portray an accurate picture, actually. Even though this side of the music definitely exists, Iapetus are so colourful, warm and textured that even when they’re playing as harshly as they can, it’s still melodically emotive and engrossing.

Neoclassical elements, subtle keyboards, synths and clean vocals, added female singing, shaded acoustics, and an epic scope to the compositions, mean that The Long Road Home has a wealth of diversity and ambitious material to offer the listener, material that’s produced and realised highly effectively across the playing time.

This is a hugely impressive release that has the musical chops and writing skills to back up its grand ambitions. Listen to this and get lost in the night sky.

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