''Bow down to the Neon God!''
Between Colors is by far one of the most original bands when it comes to mixing different styles and influences into a cohesive sound. Even though this may seem like an exaggeration, given the variety of genres and subgenres nowadays, it is not. The way in which the band combines electro influences with elements of nu metal, metalcore, hardcore, and even industrial metal is unlike anything I have ever heard before. Formed in 2012, Between Colors has morphed into a modern metal band with a strong female voice, and has released their full-length debut album, “M.A.D”, in 2016. And now they are back with a new release, under the title “Simulacrum”.
Unlike “M.A.D”, which is very eclectic and somehow experimental, “Simulacrum” feels more grounded as it presents a more mature sound and overall approach to music.
2. Artificial Voice
3. Garden of Steel
4. Atoms of Greed
5. The Decadent Party
It seems that the band has found a style that works perfectly for them, a style that plays on their strengths and skills as musicians. Lyrically, the theme of the album deals with the future and technology, presenting an artificial way of life based mostly on computer and telephone screens, hence the title – “Simulacrum”.
''Simulacra and stimulation / The neon god of all creation
Lead us not into temptation / And forsake our mind!''
Personally I love the fact that we get to hear more of Cristina’s impressive clean voice on this album, as for example on the catchy title track or the melodic “Garden of Steel” (which for some reason reminds me of “Ghost Dance”). Her growls / harsh vocals are deeper, more solid and well placed in the songs, and “The Decadent Party” is a perfect example of her skill and talent. Rach’s bass is a rumbling force not to be taken for granted which is extremely evident on “Artificial Voice”, a heavy, aggressive song that will have you headbanging to its infectious rhythm. “Atoms of Greed” continues the attack with powerful drum beats courtesy of Mihai, which are accompanied by solid riffs from Dan’s guitar and Rach’s all-powerful bass, which I think is the basis for their darker sound. Cristina switches from cleans to growls with ease on “Atoms of Greed” while on “The Decadent Party” she uses harsher tones to get the message across. These final two tracks start with what seems to be movie samples that fit with the SF theme of the album, and the electro-industrial sound of the band. I was fairly impressed with their music since “M.A.D” came out, but “Simulacrum” is an altogether different type of monster (pun intended), representing a great step in the right direction both for Between Colors and for the Romanian underground metal scene.
Though it has only five songs that clock in at about 23 minutes (wish it was a full-length release), “Simulacrum” is packed to the brim with quality metal and offers plenty of surprises to the listeners, from explosive bass lines, to well executed guitar riffs, to electronic soundscapes. It’s an EP that can be on repeat for a long time without feeling over-played or losing its original charm as the songs flow together neatly. For me, this EP is a breath of fresh air as it presents a different aspect of metal than what I usually listen to and review, and I am loving this change.
I rate it with a solid 4.5 / 5, which comes with a recommendation to every metal lover to give it a spin (or at least listen to the singles). I am sure you’ll find something to like here. You can listen to and buy “Simulacrum” on their bandcamp platform. I bought my copy on Google Play.
Follow the band online:
Cristina Popa – vocals and growls
Dan Niculescu – guitar
Ioana "Rach" Balaji – bass
Mihail Stan – drums