Polish and English progressive rock and metal quartet Disperse returns to present their third studio album Foreword (Season of Mist). This band may take inspiration from bands such as Pink Floyd, and Dream Theater, but it ends up with a very modern sound , in some parts similar to pop bands such as Kensington, but with a more progressive bent to their music.One would be remiss not to mention the musical relationship to Riverside, with whom Disperse toured at the start of their career, but this is in no way a copy of their style, drifting more to the experimental than the comfortable, while still retaining that atmospheric sound. Electronics and samples are a characteristic feature of this album.
This modern and electronic sound are present from the very first moment with the opening track ‘Stay’; the rhythm and licks are highly variable, but the vocals are sweet and clean and because the lyrics are often sung against the meter they take on an instrumental feel, rather than conveying an actual text.
‘Surrender’ has a lot of sections of more comprehensible Prog, with interludes of sweeping arpeggios. The juxtaposition of smooth and rugged is somewhat reminiscent of Headspace. This is a vocally sensible, and musically sensitive song with many minor breaks instead of entire deranged sections.
This album seems to enjoy putting you on the wrong foot: if you think you know what’s coming next, you’re probably wrong and ‘Bubbles’ has a quite different atmosphere from the first two songs, with very heavy elements. ‘Sleeping Ivy’ is another song which manages to at once fit the album and be a total surprise, as is, ‘Neon,’ by dint of being remarkably comfortable to listen to. ‘Tomorrow’ has very captivating vocals, again non-metric, but with beautiful backing lines and is one of the more cohesive songs on the album, featuring a fiery solo.
Other noteworthy elements are the intriguing guitar lines of ‘Gabriel,’ and how ‘Tether’ really approximates popular music in a progressive manner. An absolute highlight is the closing number, ‘Kites,’ which has beautiful intermingling lines, offset rhythms, and a really peaceful atmosphere found in post-rock bands such as God Is An Astronaut.
Disperse really show their capacity for building truly beautiful soundscapes and this album seems to find a balance between the comfortable and atmospheric side of Prog, and the complicated experimental side, finding a unique voice in doing so.