I love to see bands improve. I try to offer constructive criticism for this reason. SomeWhereOut is a band that I’ve reviewed before, and I was stunned by how great they sound now. Their debut album is called Deep in the Old Forest and it released on January 15th. I’ve been meaning to review it for some time.
Back in 2018, I published an EP battle that featured Sight of Theia, SomeWhereOut, and Lucas Ray Exp. While I’ve lost track of the other two artists, I’ve been paying attention to SomeWhereOut for their sheer creativity. In that EP battle, I mentioned that they are quirky, trippy, and interesting, but that their follow-through on vocal melodies and transitions really needed some work. Hearing Deep in the Old Forest, I hear massive improvement in not only these areas, but in overall composition and conceptualization of the music. The difference is like night and day.
SomeWhereOut rides the line between progressive rock and metal. They have plenty of edge, but many moments are fluid, melodic, and even dreamy. You will hear hints of jazz and retro prog rock now and then, and their music is built primarily on excellent guitar work, thundering drums, gorgeously serene keys, and excellent vocal performances. The album as a whole sounds a bit melancholy and eerie, per the cover art, almost like an old story or a dusty tome.
The band itself comes to us from Spain and seems to be a of duo Raúl Lupiañez on guitars, bass, and keys; and Francisco Garo on drums. So far as I can tell, there are eight vocalists, both male and female, on this record, plus an array of guests on guitar and bass. Begoña Ramos also guests on violin on a few tracks.
This lineup is very important to the sound of the album. It feels like a group effort, and the vocalists have varying accents and tones that make the album continually feel fresh and new. Some of the vocalists have truly stunning voices, too, and they completely follow-through on the vocal melodies to the point where they are catchy and satisfying. It seems like every song has a strong hook!
As far as transitions go, the band has gotten really good at them. The album has so many ethereal or even ambient transitions that feel natural; and they draw me into the experience through beautiful keys or soothing acoustic guitar. There is musical space everywhere, and so the album doesn’t feel crowded or overdone, even with the large number of guests. The music ends up feeling pensive and cinematic with punctuated metallic moments that really rock. And, while they’ve lost their quirkiness for the most part, I don’t miss it.
Deep in the Old Forest is full of great songs. “Bones, Blood, and Fear” is a fantastic track with prog metal edge, eerie and fleeting melodies, and a vocalist that reminds me of Damian Wilson at times. I love it. Another great one is “Someone With No Name” with its stuttering riffs, gradual vocal melodies, and sweet second half instrumental, all hanging in a ghostly fog. Songs like “Our Promise” and “The Fallen One” are simply high quality. While they may not be revolutionary in some way, they are really, really good and a joy to hear.
My overall favorites come in the second half. “The Midnight Bell” offers a duet, which sounds melodic and beautiful, alongside an acoustic tune that feels slightly bluesy and comforting. “The Crystal Mountain” is pureblooded progressive metal that hits hard and feels absolutely amazing. The best song on the album, however, is for sure the closer “The Old Forest”. This fifteen-minute song is equal parts dark and melancholy, epic and cinematic. I love how it slowly builds, taking its time to hit the right notes and to let the piano do its thing. The second half is nothing short of breath taking with amazing keys and a delicious feeling of satisfaction. I always feel great as the album closes.
SomeWhereOut has improved drastically. Their music is more cohesive, better structured, and simply feels complete now. I love the strong guitar work and vivid keyboards, and the array of vocalists is handled well and the performances are strong. While the album might not be a major advancement for the progressive rock/metal sound, it is still a solid, worthwhile experience that I think prog fans will love.
Find SomeWhereOut online: