A Swan by the Edge of Mandala offers a rich and colourful 59 minutes of progressive metal for listeners to get lost in. It’s an absorbing and enjoyable album, full of slick riffs, emotive melodies, and engaging songcraft.
The songs are well-written and professionally rendered. The progressive feel of the music is immediate and strong, yet also has longevity built in by virtue of the quality of the songwriting and the choice of riffs and melodies.
This conceptual album has a heart of fiery thrash that has been spliced with a silken dose of progressive metal. The end result is a hybrid of both strains, providing biting guitars and harsh vocals alongside mood-rich riffs, clean singing, and exploratory structuring. The progressive side of the music is definitely the album’s defining side though, powering the record forward to ever greater heights, while the thrash side skulks around baring its teeth.
The level of musicianship on display is very high. However, no matter how convoluted or labyrinthine things can occasionally get, Vorbid never forget the importance of actual songs and always bring things back on track before anything gets too out of hand.
A Swan by the Edge of Mandala is an enjoyable album that should find favour with any fan of progressive metal.
Highly recommended for prog adherents.