Vertigo Steps - Surface/Light
16 April 2012

01. Vertigo Dawn
02. The Hollow [feat. Sophie]
03. Silent Bliss
04. Railroads Of Life [feat. Jan Transit] [feat. Sophie]
05. Tonight I Died, Tomorror I'll Live [feat. Patrik Karlsson]
06. Doppler Defect
07. Disappear Here
08. Helsinki
09. Someone (Like You)
10. Zepellin On Fire
11. Schadenfreude [feat. Sophie]
12. Nothing At All [Rob Dougan cover] [feat. Stein Roger Sordal]
13. The Porcupine Dilemma [feat. Patrik Karlsson]

Who never heard of Vertigo Steps, please raise your hand. Okay, here is what you need to know: they are an underrated band from Portugal with a Finnish vocalist. This is their third album. The easier way to describe their music is sticking them the "progressive metal" tag but, in reality, their music expands to other domains, like suomi, ambient, heavy or just "dark metal". The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Regardless of what you call it, the atmospheric component of their music, perhaps the most distinct as well, is once again brooding in Surface/Light as the band seems to be trying to perfect it more and more with each album. They also continue their tradition of bringing in renowned guests to participate on their albums and releasing at least one cover song which they reinvent completely in true Vertigo Steps fashion.

If Surface/Light was a book, "Vertigo Dawn" would be the introduction, which leaves your mouth watering. Once it kicks in, it is as though you are standing in a peaceful place staring at the view and the mood is set for the whole experience, much like a reflection of the album cover. And really, this album is a series of chapters which are all part of a bigger picture and meaning, and the pieces fit together, even if the band allows itself some eccentricities like "Schadenfreude". It has a page-turner effect, you want to keep listening.

This album is a true hymn to the beauty of melody and its subtleties. Vertigo Steps has come a long way in terms of songwriting to the point where now they fully manipulate and build the momentum of songs to a very high standard. Having said that, do not be fooled into thinking that you will only find a bunch of soft contemplative songs because that is not the case. Even in the midst of acoustic journeys, like in "Railroads Of Life", in comes the loaded crunching riff popping in and leaving its mark. "Silent Bliss" is another good example of a heavier song incorporated into the melodic core.

The production is also well-balanced, a little better than in their two previous albums, and that makes all the difference when the music encompasses and accommodates so many different sounds and echoes. It is a good sounding record. After all, they have learned from the best: Porcupine Tree, Green Carnation, Katatonia, Anathema.

In the end, Surface/Light is one of those albums where you see a band take a giant step forward, like the In Absentia and Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness of this world, only to the scale of Vertigo Steps, of course. This is possibly one of the defining moments of their career where they finally put their indelible stamp on the songs and find their musical nirvana, as it were.

Highlights: "Railroads Of Life", "Doppler Defect", "Someone Like You", "Nothing At All" and "The Porcupine Dilemma".

Band profile: Vertigo Steps
Album: Surface/Light


Written on 08.05.2012 by
News chief, random reviewer, professional progger and wannabe surfer.
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Dark Forever - 09.05.2012 at 17:14  
The album is really good, very relaxing and simple yet complex in emotions.
Hendrikse - 09.05.2012 at 18:07  
Got this album a couple of weeks back, really awesome stuff!
Dark Blood - 09.05.2012 at 18:40  
I've heard a few songs from this album and I found them very unique and soothing, even the heaviest ones. Has a late Anathema vibe at times. It is something to have in my possession and make proper use of it.

It's always nice to read your reviews. Very nice work once again!
Ag Fox - 09.05.2012 at 18:55  
Lovely review. Need to check them out
basquetal - 09.05.2012 at 19:59  
BloodTears You do well to recognize Portuguese bands and this is a great album and a great band, very good.
My favourites: Railroads Of Life,The Porcupine Dilemma...
Zealot644 - 10.05.2012 at 02:16  
Song: Zeppelin On Fire - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD94lFsaEvk&feature=relmfu

I like it.
tea[m]ster - 10.05.2012 at 05:31  
I picked this is up a few weeks ago and haven't given it my undivided attention. Shame on me.
R'Vannith - 10.05.2012 at 05:48  
Sounds like an album for me, I do like page turners. Great review. Also, if they've learnt from PT I'm sold.
Vertigo Steps - 19.05.2012 at 18:55  
Thank you all for the words and appreciation...

Mr. Doctor - 26.08.2012 at 20:22  
Huh, this is actually very pleasant. Me likes it. This is certainly very atmospheric.
Milena - 26.08.2012 at 20:39  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 26.08.2012 at 20:22

Huh, this is actually very pleasant. Me likes it. This is certainly very atmospheric.

Oh yeah, another album we both like! *high five*
There's a sea of similar prog bands, most of them very exquisite. So if you ever wish for more, drop Ana or me a PM.
BloodTears - 27.08.2012 at 11:07  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 26.08.2012 at 20:22

Huh, this is actually very pleasant. Me likes it. This is certainly very atmospheric.

I'm surprised you like this, but pleasantly surprised This really is one of the best albums of the year for me so far.

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