Returning once again to cast their dark and captivating musical mastery over us all, Athenian five piece Mother Of Millions are set to unleash ‘Sigma’, their second full length release and follow up to the incredible debut offering ‘Human’ (2014). Conceptual again like its predecessor, this dark and despair laden musical journey revolves around the concept of silence (Sigma, the letter being the initial of the greek word “Σιωπή”, which means ‘Silence’). So, like Depeche Mode suggested, let’s enjoy the silence…
Like all solid, modern progressive metal bands, the ambience and atmospheric impact of the music on the album is a crucial component to the sound, the delivery and any narrative the music or lyrics may contain. “Emerge” which opens the album executes this background effect with minimal fuss. The oppressive yet soft tone of voice used in the spoken word narrative, combined with the haunting piano lines, melodic guitar lines and subtly shifting percussive elements helps create a simmering tension which rises and falls with minimal effort, allowing a simple fade out to end the track which swings right into “Shine”. The complex rhythmic delivery, a staple of progressively inclined music, coupled with the solid musical delivery hits hard but with a certain grace about it. The passionately delivered vocals, jarring but melodic chord stabs and tight drums all adds an air of heaviness and the control in its delivery is spot on. “Silence” is a powerful hitting piece of music which has some fantastic vocal and piano delivery in there, adding an extra edge to the melodic progression of the song and the dynamics of the guitar and bass, shifting from clean and gentle to poundingly heavy just tops it off nicely.
“Rome” is a tightly delivered, polyrhythmic metal assault which many djent-minded prog metal bands should pay attention to. It proves that you don’t need an 8 string guitar and that it’s cool to venture past the first fret in terms of how it is played! Like a strange kind of hybrid between Muse and Tool, this track captivates with its flair and extravagance. The massive sound, jumping from vibrant to calm and dark, the tight groove shifting beneath the musical surface, it all adds up to a fantastic track, and that’s before you even touch on the intricate melodic lines of the piano, the bass and the subtle guitar licks and fills! “Their Passage, Their Light” is an instrumental track which acts as a buffer and a reprieve from the intensely captivating and emotional metal on offer. With its cleaner approach, bringing the traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern vibes with it, adding that exotic flair which was present on the previous release, the track allows the album to breathe a little before it once again descends into the darkness. “Collision” has a very familiar feel to it. The atmospheric build up brings memories of the previous release ‘Human’ and the sorrowful air which permeates this track pulls you back in once more. Deep bass rumblings, Tool-esque drum patterns and emotionally charged vocals give way to a cascade of distortion and hypnotically dark melodies and the disorientating multi-layered vocal section wraps things up nicely, leading us to the sudden stop which heralds the arrival of “The Rapture”; another short instrumental break track which lays the foundation for the final two tracks.
“Spiral” flows in flawlessly from “The Rapture”, bringing with it some Meshuggah like grooves, prominent vocals, melodic piano and guitar lines and a huge low end presence. Disjointed and jarring choruses filled with polyrhythmic poundings, dynamic and charged vocal deliveries and a massive guitar lead section towards the end help set the mood, feel and vibe for the curtain call which is the ominous feeling title track itself, “Sigma”. Slow to build with classical inspired overtures and a melancholic voice ringing out through the piano arrangements, this track wraps the album up nicely, keeping that unsettling feel from “Emerge” and making it seem almost like a cycle. The (initially) soft spoken vocal lines become more prominent as the instrumental work behind slowly surges in prominence and by the two minute mark, a crowd-like effect vocal section really hammers home the mood and feel of the entire album before it slowly drifts off into silence, the fading vocal line the only reminder that there was music before this.
In all, as you can see, I have nothing but high praise for this band and this release. Mother Of Millions are a rare breed in Progressive Metal at the moment. Their mastery of atmospheric impact and delivering emotions through music is second to none in the genre and sooner or later I expect to see this five piece standing shoulder to shoulder with the current giants in this realm of metal. Heavy, dark, captivating and thought provoking, “Sigma” is a wonderful recording which shows how sometimes, the darker side of things can be just as beautiful as the lighter side.