Man Made Origin - The Divine Soulless

Atmospheric third record from the Scottish prog metallers.

Man Made Origin The Divine Soulless album art

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Dundee’s known for many things, but prog metal? Man Made Origin call the city home, but the quintet’s sound goes far beyond Caledonia, with its death-influenced complexion doffing its cap to Scandinavia and, in particular, Opeth.

Their third album is heavily indebted to the first half of Mikael Åkerfeldt’s career, with the Swedes’ light/dark dichotomy and intrinsic melancholy an unmistakable influence. But there’s enough ingenuity for us to see beyond the comparison.

Spread over 46 minutes and six tracks, The Divine Soulless is a concept record about the First Crusade, and it’s ambitious, sonically grand and impressive. Prog metal fans will lap up the likes of Antioch, which lobs in frenetic kick pedal drumming and guttural growls, and Jerusalem’s white-knuckle distortion.

But there’s much here too for those who prefer their music peaceful. Deus Vult is a dreamy melting pot of gothic harmonies, and the superb key-laden instrumental break in Outremer channels Opeth at their most trippy. Chuck in cello, grand piano and some lofty female vocals, and The Divine Soulless is an opulent, engrossing album that’s set to put Dundee on the prog metal map.

Chris Cope

A writer for Prog magazine since 2014, armed with a particular taste for the darker side of rock. The dayjob is local news, so writing about the music on the side keeps things exciting - especially when Chris is based in the wild norths of Scotland. Previous bylines include national newspapers and magazines.