[Album Review] Reasons Behind Execute 'Project M.I.S.T.' with Power Metal Panache

Reasons Behind fancy themselves as modern storytellers, combining the grandeur of symphonic power metal with a science fiction twist. Their 2014 debut The Alpha Memory put them on the map, and now they’ve embraced more electronic elements for the follow-up, Project M.I.S.T. With a running commentary on technology and human existence in the modern age, this concept record soars thanks to singer Elisa Bonafè and her excellent performances. Add in the composition by guitarist Gabriele Sapori, and this album is a powerful piece of orchestra-infused electronic metal.

The intro track “Unplugged” sees a shimmering synth line and a choral background, setting the pace for what’s to come. This gives way to “Fireflies in the Wind,” with its reminiscence to bands such as Xandria and Sirenia, with equal prominence given to the dancing synths and the powerful guitar lines. “A Hidden Thread” sees the synths work overtime, doubling the guitar lines in the intro, and the vocals in other parts of the song. While hidden may not be the word, it is the synths that tie this track together. Things go more upbeat and up-tempo on “Shades of Neon,” featuring a commendable guitar performance by Sapori.

“Ghostwired” sees Elisa explore her higher vocal range, especially in the chorus. Sonically, the song is a mid-tempo metaller, with a deliberate drum beat and typically busy synth work. Things turn towards the electronic side on “Beyond the Black,” starting off more like a pop song than a metal song, and it’s my personal favorite to this point. “Living a Lie” starts off airy and in the clouds, but turns quickly to an intense symphonic metal anthem, doing a lot without doing much. The guitar riffs are remarkably simple and just as effective, with just enough bite to not be too abrasive.

The album’s anchoring single “Binary Stars” is heavy to start out, with triplets and more great synth work. If the mission of a single is to capture the essence of the forthcoming record, this one succeeds more than most. Every instrument, every part comes together for a strong track. Following this is “Between Here and Awake,” a palate-cleansing interlude that serves as a sort of overture of what we’ve heard so far. “(E)met is another anthemic track, full of monster guitar riffs and a call and response duet between the guitars and the synths later in the track. “No Dawn to Come” ties things up with plinking, piercing synth work and a four on the floor groove, going back to basics to wrap up this fun, lush work of electronic-laden symphonic metal. Project M.I.S.T completes its mission and leaves no man behind.

Project M.I.S.T. is available now via Scarlet Records.