VICINITY – V III (2024) *HQ*

VICINITY - V-III (2024) *HQ* - full

Norwegians VICINITY have been crafting their mix of progressive metal, melodies and sophisticated rhythm patterns since 2006. Now releasing their third studio album today, the five-piece has reached the perfect mix in their sound.
Titled “V III”, this is a mature melodic progressive metal album written and executed in the old-fashioned way we all love. That meaning ’80s / early ’90s progressive metal with clean melodious vocals, elaborated guitar, keyboard runs – all with an extremely polished production. Think Rush, Dream Theater’s Images & Words era, Seventh Wonder – you know that sound.
And VICINITY are darn good at it.
Right out of the gate, Vicinity show you that they mean business. They’ve got a professional mix that brings an older sound into the modern era, tastefully incorporating ’80s style synths without the kitsch, and riffs that bring to mind early 90s Dream Theater but with a much fuller, weightier tone.

The band play classic prog metal fashion doing all the intricate tempo and mood shifts we’ve come to know and love, but always keep room for melody, whether that is a lead synth, a guitar solo, or a vocal line, the band constantly keeps you engaged with ear candy. And they manage to do so without the slightest loss of complexity!
Take opener “Promised Paradise,” for example. It does have a chorus, but it’s not given the typical weight in the mix, and the song goes through so many diverse moods and instrumental wizardry during its near twelve minute runtime that the song almost feels through-composed instead.

Continuing on, V-III proves to be a dazzling experience. Deliciously melodic lead play fills every pore of this record, and the drummer is no slouch when it comes to showing off either. Vicinity probably once heard Mike Portnoy say “My style is basically ‘more is more’” and then made that their mantra.
The tones of their instruments are godly too: the guitars sound pristine, the drums strike a great balance between an earthy and a polished sound, the bass pops and is very forward in the mix, and, lastly, the bright synth tones are arguably what defines this record the most as V-III is truly drenched in both background and lead synths.

Sometimes keyboardist Ivar Nyland will pull out a diverse sound palette, such as the spacey synths on “The Singularity” or the piano break on “Distance”. Then “Confusion Reactor” has heavier structures, with a weighted riff as well as some darkness worked into the music. But, the greys are left behind at the chorus, as a rich blend of harmonies, keyboards and bass work elevate the sound.
“Shape of Life” is perhaps one of the contrasts that I have been waiting for… the slower, more emotional sound is more straightforward, and the simple but pleasing melody is easy on the ears. Here is a bit of the vocal dynamism as well that I was talking about earlier.

“DKE” has rougher, heavier, and more aggressive sound, but it is not without wondrous melodies. Listen to how well the band shifts between different passages. The opus titled “Face the Rain” closes the album. It takes a lot of twists and turns along the way, but the central melody remains.
Not much current prog metal acts keep doing this type of melodic side from the genre – for many, this is outdated – well, we celebrate what VICINITY is doing on ”V-III”.
Highly Recommended


01 – Promised Paradise
02 – Distance
03 – Purpose
04 – Confusion Reactor
05 – The Singularity
06 – Shape Of Life
07 – DKE
08 – Face The Rain

Erling Malm – Vocals
Ivar A. Nyland – Keyboards
Kim-Marius H. Olsen – Guitars
Pierre-Nicolai H. Schmidt-Melbye – Bass
Frode Lillevold – Drums

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