Iranian progressive rock 5 piece Mavara have a long and storied history. Formed in 2001 by keyboardist/producer Farhood Ghadiri, the band quickly solidified themselves as a premier act of their ilk in their homeland. The band received accolades in their native land and played the prestigious progressive rock festival “Teheran Avenue.” The band’s first English language album Forgotten Inside was released in 2009 with the band subsequently relocating to the United States. There they released 2013’s Season of Salvation.
The band’s newest offering Consciousness is 10 songs in length and vastly expands their core foundation of style. Spoken word kicks off the proceedings with the epic “Invasion (636 Gregorian Calendar). With its 11:39 running time, it’s not long until the aforementioned track gives way to a flurry of dynamic vocals, shape-shifting rhythms, and technical guitar work. “Love for Centuries” begins with a haunting piano line followed by emotive vocals by Ashkan Hamedi. The composition is constantly growing addition by addition only to subside for a brief instrumental interlude.
Track 4 “Living the Fast Live” begins with a monumental guitar passage accompanied by concise drumming. The band seems to come by their genre honestly with a smattering of time signature changes and accents before the song is even a minute old. This selection concludes with a beautiful guitar solo. The lyrical themes suggest self-awareness and mindfulness which is a great compliment to the music. Apparently, the band chose this song to be their next video release. I’d say that’s a wise move based on the sheer power of the song. On the topic of power: “High on Power” is almost ballad like and boasts a strong vocal performance along with a dynamic arrangement.
“Time Makers” takes on 4 or 5 different approaches before the first 60 seconds are over. From spidery bombastic guitar riffage to contemplative vocals, Mavara does it all. Literally. “Illumination” is a lovely choral vocal interlude before the album closer and title track.
Consciousness the song acts as a mission statement for the album as a whole. The theme of war in ancient times is explained and expounded upon with a shift in ideas to the future of humanity as a whole. The piano work at the 3:00-minute mark will surely wow any fan of progressive, forward thinking music in general. Additional keyboards and swirling guitar effects serve the mood perfectly. Some almost Rush like synth lines cap of this monumental piece of music.
Overall Consciousness is an excellent album of progressive music, sure to please any die hard fans of the genre. I would’ve loved to hear a bit more variety with the lead vocals to give the music more dynamics but that is my subjective look. Mavara should expand their fan base immensely (and with good reason) with their efforts on Consciousness.
Release Date: September 11, 2017
For Fans Of: Porcupine Tree, Anathema, Pink Floyd, Marillion, and Rush.
Favorite Tracks: Living the Fast Life, Mandatory Hero, Consciousness.