Votem: :Ktonik:

Polish prog metal bombardment with real atmosphere.

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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.

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!