Individualistic Isrealis laugh in the face of defining labels.
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.