Formed in Warszawa in 2002, Votum started life by churning out heavy metal until they let their prog flag fly, on 2008’s Time Must Have A Stop and 2013’s Harvest Moon.
Their fourth album is spearheaded by the star-sailing Satellite, its music video complete with hooded faces, bare forests, big insects and man-on-the-mountain shots. Such grandiosity suits the music, which places Bart Sobieraj’s airy vocals over sledgehammer, rhinoceros-bollock riffage from guitarists Piotr Lniany and Adam Kaczmarek. This is punctuated by keyboardist Zbigniew Szatkowski’s stretches of ambient calm, and sensitively underpinned by the rhythm section of Adam Lukasjek (drums) and Bartek Turkowski (bass). The album’s sonics are bolstered by a well-rounded mix from Opeth knob-twiddler David Castillo, who brings out the subtle elements at play in Votum’s slow-to-medium paced prog metal bombast, notably widescreen excursions such as Greed, Vertical, the reflective Blackened Time and closing salvo of Last Word. Often atmosphere rules over challenging content but this is ultimately a solid, well-made album brimming with ambitious visions; some of which are yet to be fully realised.