Simulacrum is a Finnish progressive metal band from Turku in Southern Finland that was formed in 2000 with Genesis being the band’s third album, hardly prolific by any standards, but at least the band has concentrated on quality rather than quantity. The band leader Christian Pulkkinen began writing the material that would ultimately end up on the 2012 debut, The Master And The Simulacrum, as far back as 2000 but at least the writing process was quickened up for the second album and concept work Sky Divided which came out in 2015 and was a story based on the theme used so many times in literature, films and music of an alien race attacking the Earth for our resources.
These albums showed the bands progress as they honed the necessary skills to challenge the big names of progressive metal and also showed a band more than comfortable with writing songs in the 10 to 15 minute range and I have to admit that I am usually slightly disappointed if I do not see a track over 10 minutes, as I do love excess in all areas! For sure progressive metal is an art that favours the lengthier and well developed songs with bands like Dream Theater, Fates warning, Symphony X and Rush in the old days showing how it should be done. Certainly, the last album made some people sit up and take notice including Frontiers who saw so much potential in the band and they have now unleashed this for this quite spectacular and eagerly awaited album.
There have been changes in the band too with a new, truly powerful drummer in Tatu Turunen coming in to replace Henri Kallio and he seems to have given the band a new dynamic with the biggest change being the introduction of a second vocalist. Erik Kraemer has come in and his vocals offer a new option for the band and the combination with long standing singer Niklas Broman makes for a thrilling edge to the bands delivery as their contrasting vocals complement each other so well. Add in stunning guitars and banks of sumptuous keyboards and edgy, complex songs with countless time changes and you have a quite superb progressive metal album to rival anything currently in the market. The first five songs are all round the 6 minute mark and the band manages to cram so much into them with the usual soaring vocals, plenty of melodic hooks and stunning guitar and keyboard interplay but, brilliant as they are, they merely serve as the appetiser as the band launches into the four part 31 minute epic that is Genesis, a suite that will, quite rightly, be regarded as a future classic of the sci-fi prog metal genre.
Genesis is a quite stunning metal album and one to keep you entertained forever; if Dream Theater is your standard bearer for progressive metal then be advised that there is a new champion in town.
Genesis track list
- Traumatized (5:53)
- Nothing Remains (5:52)
- Arrhythmic Distortions (5:32)
- Like You, Like Me (5:46
- Scorched Earth (6:43)
- Genesis Part 1: The Celestial Architect (8:42)
- Genesis Part 2: Evolution Of Man (6:17)
- Genesis Part 3: The Human Equation (5:15)
- Genesis Part 4: End Of Entropy (11:23)
Christian ‘Chrism’ Pulkkinen – Keyboards & Orchestrations.
Nicholas ‘Solomon’ Pulkkinen – Guitars, Bowed Harp & Bark Horn.
Niklas Broman – Vocals.
Erik Kraemer – Vocals.
Tatu Turunen – Drum Set & Percussion.
Petri Mäkilä – Guitars.
Olli Hakala – Bass, Chapman Stick & Electric Upright