From what I have gathered, Distorted Harmony is an underrated progressive metal band. They’ve been around for a decade, released three albums and still haven’t had that huge break they’ve been working for. I believe they perfected their unique formula by their second album. The band stretched their sound and found out how far they could push it before jumping to something a little different, which they did on their latest record A Way Out.
Each Distorted Harmony album is different. Utopia is softer and more soothing, though still very much a metal album. Chain Reaction is the harshest and most brutal. A Way Out has a more modern twist, featuring even more electronic elements. I like when bands do this. Some might say they are searching for something they can call “their sound”. I think they are trying out new techniques and styles. This offers them chances, as musicians, to master something new. And, it offers the listeners something new to indulge in.
On the other hand, I think this difference makes it hard to rank their albums; especially when they only have released three. Again, I don’t want people to misconstrue this minor frustration. Bands should change their sound and explore new territory, as Distorted Harmony has done. I don’t necessarily think any of Distorted Harmony’s albums are bad either. I like all of their albums.
As a side note, having only just acquired the band’s music, it is hard to rank them. I wanted to state up front that I’ve only listened to these albums once or twice. So, over time, my opinions about the records and individual songs may change. While I am confident in my choice to endorse the band, I don’t think I’ve gotten to know the music well enough to say without-a-doubt-which-record-is-indeed-the-“best”. However, this list is a product of my attempt to order them.
One of my favorite things about Utopia is the fact that it’s relaxing. Yes, it is a relaxing metal album. The music isn’t harsh and ragged, though it gets heavy at times. It’s a brilliant mix of flavors that captivated me the moment I started listening to it.
The length of the songs is also alluring. Essentially, the band is able to do more in each song because they are longer. They have different movements and instrumental sections that paint pictures and spread emotions just as well as the lyrics.
The title track is my favorite. It’s a twelve-and-a-half-minute blockbuster of a tune with a political twist. The opening is haunting until it gives way to heavy bass and slick riffs as the song gets going.
#2 A Way Out
My prejudice toward synthetic music nearly landed A Way Out in the third slot. However, the more mature song writing saved it from last place. Needless to say, this album is great, it’s just sprinkled with icky traces of electronic elements. The rest of the band’s material has tid-bits of this as well, but they stand out more on this record due to the shorter runtime of the songs.
A Way Out is Distorted Harmony’s most accessible and radio friendly album. This is bittersweet. On one hand, it can earn the band more fans. However, the band traded away longer (and more epic) arrangements. This doesn’t sink the album, it’s just a minor complaint.
“Awaken” is probably my favorite track on the record. The song also resembles the band’s older work. “Awaken” begins with a slow, but catchy riff before boiling over with a quick drum fill and guitar solo about half way through.
#1 Chain Reaction
Chain Reaction is the most “metal” album in Distorted Harmony’s catalog. In other words, as I mentioned, it’s the heaviest and most intense album. This doesn’t mean the album is filled with breakdowns, guitar solos and screaming. There are softer songs, such as the instrumental “Nothing (But the Rain)”. “Methylene Blue” is soft until it builds into an epic conclusion. “Children of Red” is one of the band’s heaviest songs, if not their heaviest. “Natural Selection” and “Misguided” are equally bold and heavy.
Chain Reaction is a great evolution from Utopia. The band added some more traditional elements found in the metal genre, while overall, retaining the aspects of Utopia that made them stand out: their songs are made of different movements and sections that are entirely instrumental. In other words, the songs switch from softer verses to harder choruses and bridges.
As a rule of thumb, I generally like heavier music. Songs like “Children of Red” catch my attention quickly, simply due to the harsher nature of the music. The lyrics of “Natural Selection” have an anti-religion/anti-government air, which I find attractive. Anyone who knows me can attest to my infatuation with philosophy, so as you may imagine, I enjoy when bands throw philosophical elements into their music.
All of this aside, “Every Time She Smiles” is a great transition between Utopia and Chain Reaction. The song has the same feeling of Utopia, while teasing what is to come with the rest of the album.