Review by Andy Minogue
‘Harvest Moon’ by Polish band Votum has all the ingredients to be a classic prog-metal album. Mournful piano? Check. Accomplished instrumentation? Check. Intricate guitarwork?
Check. However, therein lies the crux of the problem. The album is full of disparate good ideas (witness the jazzy sections of ‘Cobwebs’ or the ambient soundscapes of ‘Numb’, ‘Dead Ringer’ and ‘Coda’), but these are weaved together by banal choruses and vocals that just don’t stick in the memory or send shivers down the spine as much as perhaps they should.
There is a tendency for one song to bleed into another, leaving the listener exhausted. There are of course exceptions to this. ‘Bruises’ starts off promisingly enough. ‘Ember Night’ finally sees the band throw off the shackles and combine their good ideas into one coherent hard-hitting piece, and ‘Coda’ would have made an excellent crescendo to the album had it not been for the needless inclusion of the reprise of ‘Numb’ which proceeds it.
It can also be a challenging listen at nearly 70 minutes long. This is by no means a bad album, it is just not a memorable one. May appeal to hardcore fans of Porcupine Tree and Katatonia.