This is not the article for a full history on progressive metal, but like every genre, it seems to have its decades of ups and downs. For me, the 2000s seemed to be the decade of PROG with releases like:

Tool – Lateralus || Dream Theater – Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence || Mastodon – Crack the Sky || Symphony X – The Odessey || Pain of Salvation – Remedy Lane || Between the Buried and Me – Colors || Meshuggah – ObZen || Ayreon – The Human Equation ||

Here I am in 2024, 15 years into reviewing metal albums, 15 years into progressive metal (my favorite genre) and the 2020s seem to be the decade of progressive rock/metal. It could be that being trapped at home, gave bands more time to work on their music, and release albums after a 10-year break. The last few years gave us all a lot of topics to think about, feel something in relation to, and get MAD as hell about. Great albums were released in the last few years. To name a few:

Porcupine Tree – Closure/Continuation || Psychotic Waltz – The God Shaped Void || Haken – Virus || Caligula’s Horse – Charcoal Grace || Pain of Slavation – Panther || Devin Townsend – Empath || Grayceon – Mothers Weavers Vultures || Gojira – Fortitude || White Walls – Grandeur || Leprous – Aphelion || Turbulence – Frontal || Lumsk – Fremmede Toner.

TURBULENCE shocked me with their 2021 release “Frontal“, I expected of course prog music, I expected them to be close to their main influence Dream Theater, but they have found their sound with that release, taking of course some elements still from DT and other influencing bands like Haken. The band produced a prog album with craft and quality that easily sits on the same list of top world prog releases (check “Frontal” review here).

We at LebMetal are always proud of our Lebanese bands making music that people from around the world appreciate, and that allows the Lebanese bands to play live in Europe and the rest of the world. Yes, our Lebanese bands have reached a very respectable level of music making. I will only mention three names: Kaoteon, Kimaera, Phenomy.

Why am I saying all this? It is because Turbulence has pushed the envelope further with this new album. “B1nary Dream” brought in a better production, a more diverse sound with plenty of new musical elements. Some oriental fusion mastered on keys by Mood Yassin, some new ways to weave riffs into choruses and carry the vocals.

Turbulence are:
Alain Ibrahim (Check our interview with Alain here -2021)
Mood Yassin
Omar El Hage
Anthony Atoui

To know more about the musicians behind this uniquely talented band check their official website band section:

Now, to the album review; B1nary Dream opens with “Static Mind“(1), establishing the soundscape of the album, teasing audio effects, synth, clean guitar buildup inviting a drum rhythm that warms up for the distorted guitar, and then it gets heated and heavy to transition to the second track “Theta“(2). The melody continues with a nice riff and the story slowly unveils itself, the AI is self-discovering … Omar’s vocal range has further evolved, bringing soft vocals, and transitioning dynamically to a grungier vocal tone. Crafting melodic guitar lead lines by now seems to be an easy thing for a talent like Alain, every track has a memorable signature on lead guitar. Theta has what I would describe as a monstrous buildup with a bass guitar tone resonating very nicely with rhythm guitar.

Time bridge“(3) has a time signature that might sound disorienting at first but then leads into a rhythm of dance. The work on keys and production shines in this track, I wish it went for longer, but it served its purpose in the musical story.

Next comes “Manifestation” (4), with jazzy chords and soft guitar, it jumps to “Haken” driven drums lines and riffs that Haken would comment on as “Why the hell did we not come up with that” and right after that comes a keyboard solo that if anything competes with the best of Jordan Rudess. This track is built on changes, a fusion of styles with returns to solid melodies and changing keyboard tones. The guitar solo on this one deserves to be on repeat along with the main riff coming back. It is a solid headbanger. There are interesting audio samples and effects that persistently give you the feel of futurism in this album, there is a sense of space and exploration in some soundscapes also.

Ternary” (5) has a vocal-heavy opening with the band singing in chorus and harmony/disharmony, the AI comes to a realization. Lyrics explain the thoughts and the music reflects that realization/ awakening two minutes later. The bass lines shine in this one supported by nice drum work.

Now, there is no doubt the album should be called “Binary Dream” (6). WTF! This is a masterpiece, a culmination of musical “climaxation” into eargasm taking the listener through 14 minutes of pure musical enjoyment. The tone varies between sad and angry, the rhythms shift the riffs jump into another game of sounds. This track has the band’s best drum work, key work , vocal performance, and a proper place for bass lines to shine. I felt a hint of Myrath, probably as Turbulence performed on the same stage with them, they picked up on some of the special elements that make Myrath what they are. Turbulence has evolved into a band that has many influences, and honors their heroes with nods but then again they take all those nice spices and add the Turbulence special signature. This track brings also some traditional oriental instrumentation done perfectly at the right moment. This journey of musical exploration continues with a perfect guitar riff blend and switches back to something quite different, a nod to the 90s prog, a hint of the strange “Magma” band somewhere there (though I doubt anyone knows the band). The track slows down, brings back the main melody, and switches back to a funky style guitar with heavy synth keys, a fusion of styles, and then back to a heavier tone. Epic ending with the words “Free your mind”… “embrace the change”, very well delivered by Omar and closing with the words “A new beginning”.

Many have by now heard “Hybrid” (7), it reminds me of Between the Buried and Me, it has the vocal style of Omar that keeps it unique, but not to forget the keys and guitar interplay keeps this a work of Turbulence. What I find as the strongest skill of the band besides blending perfectly keys and rhythm guitar is the proper inter-meshing of drums and bass with the overlaying notes. Besides structure and melody, the band dares to explore instrument special tones, signal processing, and the vast world of keyboard synth. The band is a proper progressive juggernaut pushing the boundaries of music-making and bringing new elements to the scene.

In the state of the world today, no other track spoke to our feelings and thoughts more than “Corrosion” (8), again as many have heard the track already, it carries somehow hope and reflects despair. The guitar buildup mid-track and that proper guitar tone carrying the closing reoccurring riff is what brings me back to this track very often. I should not skip on the fact that Omar has demonstrated that he can completely switch singing styles and express the whole spectrum of emotion at different paces. Worth mentioning here is that the video is perfectly fitting of the music, and the symbolism of small children’s plush toys, burned, buried in the dirt, left without the child that carried it. It is a sad world, one might think an A.I. would conclude, that humans are a species full of contradiction and selective empathy. The closing track “Deerosion” (9), allows the exploration of melody into the best closing sound an album can have, such a beautiful guitar work sealing the album with a solid strong guitar tone.

This album is a complete solid journey that one can enjoy from start to end.

Turbulence - B1nary Dream