Geometry of Chaos is a progressive metal project by Fabio La Manna, who not only plays guitar, but also bass guitar and keyboards player. Fabio also writes all the lyrics and music. The band merges his solo work with what remains of Alchemy Room, in which Davide Cardella played drums for a while. Davide keeps collaborates constantly with Fabio and the project also sees Charles Soulz on keyboards. The vocalists, Marcelo Vieira, Ethan Cronin and Elena Lippe, are all guests and add their considerable talents to ‘Imaginary Friends’.
‘Imaginary Friends’ consists of five tracks for more than 42 minutes of music, that continues what “Soldiers of the New World Order” had started and remains on the same challenging path: the difficulty of succeeding with our own strength and the need for support during the moments of discouragement.
While I am more a fan of the more traditional side of progressive rock, I do like to dabble in some quality progressive metal every now and then so, when I received an email from Fabio, I was intrigued to find out more about this project.
And, boy, do we get some seriously good prog metal with ‘Imaginary Friends’, from the thunderous opening riff of Tulpa you know you are going to be in for one hell of a intense and powerful listening experience. Fabio’s guitar delivers a sound hewn from pure granite and Davide Cardella’s drums nearly take your breath away. There’s a base of quality hard rock (and I mean HARD!) underpinning the music and then layers and layers of vivid and fervent heaviness are added over the top. The result is a sound that is almost unique but one that has some pure class to it, rather than just smacking you in the face at every opportunity! Ethan Cronin supplies the lead vocals on this track and he does a stellar job of conveying an almost sinister atmosphere and giving a deliciously dark feel. There are growling vocals that I actually like and have a place on the record and a brilliant guitar solo, what’s not to like? After that monstrous hit to the solar plexus, things continue with title track Imaginary Friends. I love the initial riff that could have come from any of the great metal bands of the 70’s and 80’s, almost Deep Purple or Black Sabbath-like in its delivery. Marcelo Vieira’s vocal, ably backed by those dynamic growls of Ethan and Elena Lippe’s backing vocals, is spot on too. This is not music for the faint hearted, this is music that wants to take over your soul and you will face a fight to stop that happening. It’s violent, intensive and acutely vivid and is all the better for it! Do you need to sit down and get your breath back? well, don’t worry, there is a piano led musical interlude to follow. Distant Voices is the polar opposite of what has gone before and Charles Soulz’s playing is a joy to behold as the piano beautifully carries on, overlaying a hushed voice-over and then Fabio’s passionate guitar just adds the pièce de résistance, simply stunning.
Now, you may expect that we will return to the heavy hitting of the first two tracks but, no, with Lies Of Vampire this intelligent musician takes us down another route that majors on the narrative and storytelling, much like some of the best progressive rock. You find yourself lost in the blues-infused music and the spellbinding vocals, it is all very clever and almost hypnotic in the way that it draws you in. There’s a spine tingling extended instrumental section where Fabio’s guitar and Davide’s drums build up to a fiery, sinuous crescendo that makes the hair on the back of your neck stick up, the guitar riff is almost primeval at heart and Charles’ keyboards hover ominously in the back ground before breaking out in a vivid flourish (Derek Sherinian may be looking at copyright here!). The tension breaks a little as the vocals come back in but there’s still a frenetic feel to the music. I’ll tell you what I wasn’t expecting, saxophone! but here it comes, Patricio Bottcher gloriously imbuing everything with a jazz fusion feel but it’s over way too quickly, lingering in the memory, before we run to the end of the track. Creatura, the final song on this ever impressive album takes us back to the manic, in-your-face prog-metal of the first two tracks and it is wonderfully overblown and fervently impassioned. Frenetic guitar, wild keyboards and devilish drums all combine to give a theatrical thrill ride of an intro before Fabio hits the brake pedal and brings things down a notch, intensifying the atmosphere before letting loose once again, it’s like a progressive metal version of Phantom of the Opera and it’s bloody brilliant and one hell of a superb sign off!
I already felt that 2024 had started off brilliantly with lots of excellent new music and you can now add Geometry of Chaos’ superb concept EP to that list. ‘Imaginary Friends’ is a spellbinding, inventive and incredibly powerful release that should make people stand up and listen, progressive metal doesn’t get much better, or cleverer, than this. Highly recommended!
Released 21st November, 2023.
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