As a whole, I cannot stand “djent” bands (or the word for that matter). Most of the material is monotonous, the bands lack creativity, and guitar riffs are more boring than watching grass grow. I was VERY surprised to hear what Reflections had brought to the table with their latest production, “The Fantasy Effect”. Reflections is a combination of almost every sort of metal genre out there today. They are not entirely a “djent” band since they bring elements from different genres and experiment with a wide variety of techniques. “The Fantasy Effect” will appeal to the hardcore “djent” fans as well as to an audience that enjoys the more progressive side of metal.
A huge part of what makes “The Fantasy Effect” so much better than other “djent” releases today is because it doesn’t bore the listener. Listening to the album all the way through, it feels as if Reflections is taking you on a sort of aural journey. There was always something in each song that I had particularly enjoyed. Putting aside the mammoth guitar tone and pulverizing drums, Reflections managed to creatively inject some ambient electronics in “The Fantasy Effect”. It didn’t feel as if it was overdone by any means. If anything, it enhanced the experience when the listener was waiting for Reflections to come back in and groove along. “The Fantasy Effect” is filled with passages that go from headbanging, merging into melodic interludes, and before you know it, the headbanging commences once more. It keeps the album from getting stale and helps put more “punch” into the upcoming riffs and phrases.
Vocals are a dominant part of “The Fantasy Effect”. Jake (vocalist) demonstrates his ability to go from piercing highs to incredibly low and guttural growls. The most dominant of the vocals is Jake’s personal touch on the hardcore style. At times they do sound a little forced, but it is not too noticeable.
The guitar work is beyond anything that I was expecting to hear. I was so happy to find out that Patrick and Charles (guitarists) are more than capable of playing a bunch of open chords and breakdowns. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of “djent” sounding sections and handfuls of heavy moments in “The Fantasy Effect”. There are some incredibly technical solos that totally blew me away as well as symphonic guitar passages. This production proves that Reflections is well rounded when it comes to their song writing. Guitars did at times drown out most of the band. Drums and bass were placed in the background, when I was hoping that there would be more shining moments for them. Guitars are one of the key components of “The Fantasy Effect”, yet stole too much thunder at times.
Bass guitar made its presence known on the album too. The licks that Francis (bassist) contributed added much more color that normally isn’t noticed by many today. Cam (drummer) was always in action behind the set. His accompaniment to all of the vocals, guitars, and bass was up to par with the skill of the band. The songs that I had kept coming back to listen to included “Picture Perfect”, “An Artifact”, and “Rotations”.
Reflections hook up the listener with 9 original tracks and one cover song, (Pantera’s “Sandblasted Skin), totalling a little over 42 minutes. If you are a fan of Periphery, The Contortionist, and/or Volumes then Reflections is a band that you must check out. It is astounding how a band of this skill level has not gotten signed to a record label yet. I am sure that will change in the near future. “The Fantasy Effect” scores an honorable 9/10. Reflections use their musicality in “The Fantasy Effect” to ultimately surround the listener in a euphoric sonority of metal.