When I decided to write a review about the latest album from the Italian progressive rock band Numph, I was eager to find out what was waiting for me. I was expecting that it would be good, but the album still managed to surprise me. I have to admit; when it comes to progressive rock, I tend to be picky. Yet, “Theories of Light” is worth mentioning as it surely deserves more fame.
RELEASE DATE: 23 September 2013 LABEL: Self-Released
The opening track, which also carries the same title as the album, introduces a mellow feeling with a dreamy guitar riff, whereas the energetic drums prevent the mood of the track from becoming too gloomy. As in the rest of the album, the instruments are in total harmony and proves the competence of the band members even from the first song. Also, the surprising growl fits nicely and catches the attention immediately. The album consists of numerous songs that come forward, but “Jacob’s Ladder”, “Death and Rebirth”, and “Deep Impact” are the ones that are likely to give you an ohrwurm. In my case, I had to sing and whistle the melodies all day long. “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Deep Impact” both stand out with their raw energy and great guitar tones. The drums guide the song with rich fills throughout the end, the vocals fit perfectly in harmony with the rest of the instruments, and the bass dances colorfully, further enriching the taste with a unique touch.
One cannot argue the dynamic flow of the order of the tracks in the album. “Dust of Souls” and “In Dark Limbo” bring the tempo down right after “Jacob’s Ladder”, one of the most energetic songs on the album. Right after them, “Death and Rebirth” comes into play with a nimble drum pattern. As the name hints, the song can be seen as a long journey, not only because of its 7 minute and 18 second duration, but also due to the organic mood of the track that ascends and descends several times, hence the lively feeling of the song is passed on forward to the listener.
“Deep Impact” takes on forward exactly where “Death and Rebirth” leaves off, and they blend into each other with a moving guitar feedback. Being one of the energetic songs in the album, “Deep Impact” lifts the overall mood once more. There are numerous rises and falls in the album, thus the listener feels guided in this experience.
“Within the Core” is the second to last song on the album and prepares the listener to a calm ending. Although the song rises at some points, that is merely done to keep the track going and interesting rather than building up expectations. And the last track, “An Angel” is rather calm and hazy, and bids to the listener farewell. Well, maybe not exactly a farewell, because this album is definitely worth giving several listens to.
Overall, the band has done an outstanding job, and also the quality of the recording, mixing and mastering is obvious. That is a big plus and provides a professional feeling to the album. Although the song order as well as the dynamic movements within the songs are carefully designed and planned, one might argue that the riffs could be occasionally more tasteful and could have more impact, but considering the whole album this is a rather minor issue. If you want to listen to a promising progressive rock album, this might be the one you are looking for.