In Slovenia, too, rock is a demanding sport. "Reaching Places High Above" is the debut album of the Bratislava-based quintet Persona Grata. His music is not easy to describe. In the six pieces offered here (including four between seven and fourteen minutes), progmetal hardness is combined in an appealing way with classically inspired retro prog and graceful folk. The typical rock instruments are joined by piano and flute, the latter played by Jana Vargova, who will accompany the band on tour in 2014. While three of the longtracks seem to be more symphonic, epic and concertante, Persona Grata is quite eager to experiment with the shorter "Istanbul" and the nine-minute instrumental piece "Orient Express": Rasant-virtuoso progmetal passages are interwoven here with spinett figures, classical moments and world music interludes. And with "Venice" a baroque spinet solo follows before the longest longtrack. The album offers exciting as well as intoxicating moments, only rarely it seems technical, so that you can only recommend every progfan to test Persona Grata.
Top Track: Orient Express