Hidden Lapse - Butterflies - (8.5/10)
Published on May 9, 2019
Hidden Lapse was born through the collaborative efforts of guitarist Marco Ricco and bassist Romina Pantanetti in 2011 and has only grown into a full line-up in 2015. The Italian quartet has released the debut album “Redemption” on July 2nd 2017 and is now about to throw another one at us within shortly. The sophomore “Butterflies” is due May 31st this year, less than 2 years apart from their last one and already showing improvement upon the established foundation. The band’s melodic progressive sound is infectious and bound to get under your skin whether you are into progressive metal or easier more mainstream sounds.
Butterflies has progressive metal at the core but also benefits from strong power and alternative influences playing a delicate balance between soft and heavy but also between intricate and accessible. The songs are full of great hooks and melodies with intuitive structures and soaring catchy choruses, but this doesn’t get in the way of creativity and impressive musicianship. It has a well contained dose of technical flare on the instruments without overdoing anything and can easily hit the groovy side on the riffs and drum patterns. The guitars play great rhythm patterns with melodies intertwined, allowing for some really cool stops, lots of muted playing, but never losing sight of melodies and absolutely acing the solos with great flow and virtuosity. The bass parts tag along to the guitar riffing most of the times but are decently audible completing the soundscape (see the bridge section to “Grim Poet” for a short and sweet bass snippet). All of this is brought forward by what is the most noticeable improvement since the debut album, the mixing and engineering of the record. In particular I was able to notice more clarity to the drums, the crisp distortion of the guitars and a better balance between all instruments.
All of the albums components work at creating a soothing bright atmosphere that is not only delivered through energy but through the forward driving fast pace of the record. It feels fresh like a spring morning, dreamlike and even a bit childish. If I could compare this to another band it would be The Gathering but Hidden Lapse takes a more energetic approach. This atmosphere is also emphasized through Alessia’s captivating lead vocals with echoing effects around her. Furthermore, what really brings forward the album’s dreamy ambiance is the added use of keyboard parts and effects. It’s loaded with synths building auras around the rest of the instruments, clean piano sections and atmospheric effects. See the intro to ‘Cruel Enigma’ or the album’s closing track ‘Dust’ with nothing but piano, guitars and spoken word. It’s actually surprising that there isn’t a keyboard player in the band as this is a really big part of the music.
Overall this album is quite groovy and has an alert pace but I wanted to emphasize that it all translates into the tranquil and soothing atmosphere that almost never gives way to the technical or metal aspects to steal the spotlight. If you listen to Italian symphonic metal, you will resonate with the vibe in ‘Butterflies’ as it’s slightly similar to what all the Italian Epica clone bands do but considerably less cheesy and more tangible. The balance between the different musical directions that the album takes is the key to what makes it work so well. If you’re into prog rock/metal, alternative stuff or even symphonic metal, this album is a delicious cookie for your ears.