Thee Orakle – Smooth Comforts False

This year has seen Portuguese bands release some impressive albums and Smooth Comforts False from Thee Orakle is no exception. A blend of mesmeric and imaginative progressive metal layered with jazz influences, Middle Eastern essences, and symphonic metal, the album is an inventive and unpredictable feast powered by a spine of groove and tech metal to make it consistently enthralling and perpetually exciting.
Formed in 2005, Thee Orakle took no time in building a fine reputation at home before finding similar responses further afield.
Their debut EP of 2007 Secret and shows with the likes of Bal-Sagoth, W.A.K.O., Cynic, and Amon Amarth drew further interest but it was their debut album Metaphortime in 2009 that gave the band wider attention and acclaim. Released via Ethereal Sound Works, Smooth Comforts False offers even greater heights of creativity from Thee Orakle.
Consisting of vocalists Micaela Cardoso and Pedro Silva, guitarists J. Ricardo Pinheiro and Pedro Mendes, bassist Daniel Almeida, drummer Frederico Lopes, and Luís Teixeira on keys, Thee Orakle has elevated their ingenuity and imagination into a weave of smooth and organic aural beauty, flighted melodies, djented manipulations, and raging aggression. It is a persistently captivating release which soars from mesmeric beauty to destructive intensity and back with a natural ease.
Once the opener ‘Faraway Embrace’ breaks out there is a heightened anticipation of something special ahead. The track paces with muscular riffs and controlling rhythms whilst the guitars entice and tease with fleeting grooves. The keys float in between to wrap themselves around the ear as the growls of Silva add an edge to the song. Once the wonderful vocals of Cardoso join the mix to contrast and accompany her harsher vocal companion the song is a full joy.
Every song is masterful and deeply pleasing from the schizophrenically tinged ‘Psi-drama’ with its glorious jazz noir elements and lone soulful trumpet of Ricardo Formoso, the gothic impassioned ‘Winter Threat’ featuring additional vocals from Marco Benevento (The Foreshadowing), to the brilliant ‘The Bridge of the River Flowing’ with its wonderful niggling metallic riffs and melodic caresses. Best song though is ‘Rescue of Mind’, a track which rampages across and explores the senses with abrupt rhythms, skilled direction changes and gloriously crafted innovation.
Produced by Daniel Cardoso Smooth Comforts False is one of the most striking and impressive albums so far this year and Thee Orakle a band all should take notice of. (9/10)

Pete RingMaster