Progressive rock virtuosos John Arch and Jim Matheos, renowned for their work in Fates Warning, have joined forces under the Arch / Matheos banner to create a stylish immersive collection of songs on the sophomore album “Winter Ethereal”.
The monumental album opener “Vermillion Moons” truly holds a passionate soul that fully comes to life since the very beginning through smoldering guitar melodies that will continue to add melancholic aesthetics and emphasize the dazzling vocal delivery generating a stunning emotional whirlwind but there are also memorable heavier grooves carefully crafted by bold guitar riffs.
“Wanderlust” provides a fair dose of catchy energetic rhythmic patterns that certainly showcase the flawless musicianship further emphasized by the elegant polished guitar solos while the shimmering melodic waves evoke poignant feelings matched by the perfect high pitched vocals.
“Wrath Of The Universe” has a prominent heavier approach in fact the fiery guitar work provides loads of intense crunchy riffs following faster rhythmic segments supported by precise drumming and enriched by interesting fancy prog twists but also features some bright melodic guitar phrases amplified by Arch’s vibrant vocal harmonies.
On “Pitch Black Prism” the atmosphere becomes quite gloomy due to the dramatic vocal delivery and the refined bittersweet guitar melodies yet this is not a simple slow & sad track as the explosive rhythmic segments ensure solid bursts of energy often focusing on majestic prog metal acrobatics.
With a particularly intricate structure “Kindred Spirits” symbolizes the album’s music direction with the allure of flourishing melodic essence and an evident progressive metal grandeur that lead to diverse instrumental progressions as guitars naturally & skillfully shift from heavier riffage to profoundly contemplative moments without forgetting to add a generous dose of sophisticated shredding and certainly such contrasting aspects are well expressed also by the wide range of Arch’s vocal performance.
Considering that in the progressive rock/metal circles Arch and Matheos are known since many years for their exceptional talent “Winter Ethereal” certainly reflects all their skills offering a balanced blend of impeccable prog dynamics and emotionally driven melodic passages.