March 14, 2021

There are a great many musical hotspots in the world, but we have seen a big increase in the number of fine bands coming from parts of the world that we would normally not expect – and Turbulence is another band with an intriguing history as this is a progressive metal band from Lebanon. It is a sad fact of life that if Lebanon is ever mentioned in the West then you know it is going to be hard or terrible news, and what the Lebanese have gone through in recent years is truly awful. Yet, the Lebanon is a truly beautiful country and we can only hope and pray that peace returns to this troubles land and we can all partake in the hospitality and beauty of these remarkable people. I’m not sure if the band’s name refers to the troubles of their homeland but it is a significant and provoking one as it must have been difficult for an up and coming rock band to build up a reputation against the unrest there.

The band was formed in 2013 in Matn (also known as Metn) district in central Lebanon with the debut, Disequilibrium, being released in 2015 and they have built up quite a reputation as purveyors of fine and sometimes challenging progressive metal with definite influences from Dream Theater (a band very important to them in their developing years), Transatlantic and Enchant. It seems that the band has been tweaked a little from the early days with the musicians on this project being Alain Ibrahim on guitar, Omar El Hajj on vocals, Anthony Atwe on bass, Sayed Gereige on drums and Mahmoud Yassin on keyboards. The actual publicity is a little uncertain on the personnel involved as the band website states that the drummer is Gereige but that he did not play on this album as he was out of the country and was therefore unavailable but who did provide the drums is not mentioned, I assume all will be revealed in the fullness of time.

The album is a concept work telling the story and life of Phineas Gage (1823-1860), an American railroad worker, who survived a large iron rod being driven through his head and destroying much of his left frontal lobe and how this affected his personality and behaviour during the 12 years that remained of his life. The band focuses on how our lives can change in an instant and how we and those around us react and the emotions that are laid bare as a result, a dark and sombre topic indeed. The album features 8 lengthy tracks of complex and technical progressive metal with an abundance of time changes and searing solos creating an intense and very moving piece. The vocals of Omar El Hajj are exceptional and he drives the music and narrative forward with authority and integrity allowing Yassin and Ibrahim to provide all of the fireworks needed in complex prog metal. The songs are all perfectly structured, well written and delivered in great style by a very talented band with a real Northern European/Transatlantic sound. El Hajj is totally accent free and his vocals are clean and delicious and with him at the helm then it is certain that this bands popularity will grow. It is impossible to pick put highlights as every track is as vital as the next but, as a statement of intent, then you only have to listen to the opening track, Inside The Gage, which is a real tour de force and contains everything you want from prog metal with a great vocal delivery and stunning guitar and keyboards solos, this track has it all but so does every track that follows.

This is only the second album by Turbulence and they show a great deal of maturity and with the technical skill shown here then they will go on to have a long a successful career. Of course, they are not yet in the same class as Dream Theater, Fates Warning or Transatlantic but they have plenty of time on their side so let’s see how they develop.

Frontal track list

  1. Inside The Gage (11:13)
  2. Madness Unforeseen (6:28)
  3. Dreamless (2:24)
  4. Ignite (8:33)
  5. A Place I Go To Hide (9:26)
  6. Crowbar Case (10:03)
  7. Faceless Man (7:28)
  8. Perpetuity (9:53)