Vedalia is a very much unknown prog metal band from little old Örnsköldsvik, having released only their debut album back in 2017; Radiance. If that first album was just that - a first album - Cormorant is the follow up and level up that asks its predecessor to hold its beer as it takes off. Vedalia aren’t afraid to play what they want and it shows. Cormorant is bold and aggressive and it shows massive growth since the first album. They also refuse to sit still any single genre; is it prog rock? Is it power infused heavy metal? Is it technical death? The answer to all the above is yes. Streaming through the entirety is the Haken to Soen to Queensrÿche like inspired prog metal, always technical and showing a great fluidity between the genres, switching almost seamlessly between them as the album progresses. And there’s also a fair bit of melody, perhaps especially toward the latter half of the album.
These are long songs - aside from the intro and that one track Waves all are six minutes plus - but they play so effortlessly, so smoothly that they come across that much shorter. You’ll still enjoy the whole runtime, but man these 65 minutes fly by. I wouldn’t call it an adventure, but it’s certainly a journey. There is darkness, peril and twists through strife and even excitement, but there is hope also, in Vedalia’s storytelling. Towards the end comes Currents: Serenity and The Ending Expanse, two especially hard hitting masterpieces of prog storytelling, technical mastery mingling with soulful antics, almost playfully melodic. Add prog rock epic closer Dreams of the Known and the album ends on a triptych of greatness sure to enthrall any fan of melodic and/or progressive metal. That’s not to say the rest of the album isn’t full of goodies, but the last three would be my personal picks.
Really, Vedalia fire on all cylinders, delivering nothing short of an almost flawless prog metal album, in line with the greats of the genre. The songwriting is top notch, the production knows to highlight what’s important and whoo boy, the musicianship is astounding. A massive rhythm section featuring giant bass lines, towering drumworks and technical riffing all add to the epic melodic solos and keys section. Meanwhile, the blend of clean vocals with sparse growls add dynamics, giving Oskar Andersson a counterpart to bounce off. While it doesn’t immediately grab you in with big choruses or any immediate accessibility (a key word in today’s metal scene, sadly) Vedalia’s sophomore full length, five years in the making, makes for an experience that is both technical and imaginative, exploratory and immersive, once you give yourself over to it and take off aboard the Cormorant I.
Standout tracks: Currents: Serenity, The Ending Expanse, Dreams of the Known