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Provenance - Still at Arm's Length

Provenance -  CD Review
Still at Arm's Length
CD Info
Scarlet Records
8 Tracks - 50:09
English lyrics

I like to think, in my own fantasy, that I discovered this band, long before all of the CD vendors in this country. Keep fantasizing D.A. Anyway, they are The Provenance from Sweden and this is their second full-length album and it comes hot on the heels of their fantastic debut "25th Hour Bleeding". And they play symphonic, bombastic, emotionally charged Progressive, Gothic/Doom Metal. They are Emma Hellstrom-Vocals and Keyboards and Flute, Tobias Martinsson-Vocals and Guitars, Joel Lindell-Drums and additional vocals, Joakim Rosen-Lead Guitars, and Jonnie Tall-Bass and they all play outstanding metal as good as anyone in this genre. They have been together since 1996 and are getting better with time. But, as is with allot of bands these days. How can they out-due themselves from their first album, which in my estimation was one of the top five albums of 2001. Unfortunately, "Still At Arms Length" is not as good as "25th Hour Bleeding" but is still a fantastic effort, in its own right.

People, there is allot going on here! Especially in the vocal department, which range from Black to Death to clean to angelic. The latter being the strong emotional voice of Emma, who hits those high notes as good as anyone out there. She is, simply put, "a joy to listen to". Absolutely nothing in common with Floor or Tarja or Anneke or even Vibeke. Emma is in a class by herself and until you behold this voice from heaven, your life will be empty and longing for, whatever it is your longing for. And she doesn't play a bad flute either. But, that's not just it. The boys in this band are all on a par with Emma, and just as talented. All the vocals flow together seamlessly to create what I like to call progression singing or harmonizing. Just as if there were time and chord changes for vocals as it is with instruments. Of course, this is only my opinion of what I hear and may not necessarily shared by others who write reviews for the masses.

As you all know, already, after reading my reviews, I do not like to go into a track-by-track synopsis of albums. I'll just pick out standout tracks. Instead, I usually like to describe what I hear, on the album, as a whole, to the reader, and he or she can make their decision based on that. In this music, I hear allot of progression not only in the vocals, but the music as well. And the use of the flute by Emma, only adds to this conclusion. As allot of Progressive bands incorporate it into their music as well. There are also a few Eastern European bands that incorporate it into their music such as, Dying Passion or Thalarion. As Gothic metal goes, I think the flute, admirably replaces the violin in this genre. As where Tristania will make use of the violin in their music, The Provenance use allot of flute solos. Another point of reference would be Trail of Tears. But I think The Provenance, are on a level with these bands as well and are one of the top five bands playing Gothic/Doom..

So, favorite tracks for me would be, the opener "Climbing Ideals" next track "Tearful, Bitter, Broken", the very intense, "Mimic", and the ender, "At Arms Length". But everything in between is also worth your time, again and again, and this is one of those albums that must be appreciated as a whole entity. Song breakdowns don't apply. The Provenance is one of the more creative bands to come out in the last five years. As you can tell, I like them allot, and so will you, trust me. If you like bands such as Tristania or Trail of Tears, or are a fan of some of the Eastern European bands to come out, as of late, you cannot go wrong with The Provenance. Where "25th Hour Bleeding" was a 11, "Still At Arms Length" is a mere 8 points.