In­di­vid­u­al­is­tic Is­re­alis laugh in the face of defin­ing la­bels.

Prog - - Intro - GM

Any genre de­scrip­tion for Of Clans And Clones And Clowns would be some­what mis­lead­ing. This Is­re­ali col­lec­tive’s sec­ond out­ing comes seven years af­ter their de­but, but it’s clearly been time well spent. It in­trigu­ingly mixes and melds nu­mer­ous in­flu­ences around its melodic power metal core, from musical theatre to Mid­dle Eastern folk and the dis­tinctly bizarre. No self­im­por­tant, po-faced mu­si­cians here ei­ther – Soul Enema em­brace quirk and aren’t afraid to fool around, as tracks like Can­ni­balis­simo Ltd. or The Age Of Cos­mic Ba­boon ably demon­strate. Es­pe­cially given the preva­lence of gui­tar riff­ing meet­ing folk in­stru­ments, a point of ref­er­ence might be Ayreon – apt then that Ar­jen Lu­cassen pops up in Eter­nal Child throw­ing in a ter­rific gui­tar solo. If this musical smor­gas­bord prospect is off-putting, for more “main­stream” sym­phonic rock/prog metal head di­rectly to the po­tent yet un­de­ni­ably char­ac­ter­ful Aral Sea three­song suite, fea­tur­ing a guest con­tri­bu­tion from Or­phaned Land’s Yossi Sassi. Main vo­cal­ist Noa Gru­man is hugely im­pres­sive and a ma­jor star of the show, dis­play­ing enor­mous com­mand and flex­i­bil­ity through­out. It’s a ter­rific al­bum that em­bod­ies a free, cre­ative prog spirit.

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