Emetropia is a Swedish Symphonic/Power Metal band formed in 2017. An Acoustic Endeavor follows its amazing debut, Equinox, but goes in a different direction. Instead of grandiose pageantry, they’ve decided to go more minimalist, removing the bombastic amplified stylings of the previous release for this, a calming selection of songs that will lull you into a dream state. Stripping all the excess out of the songs you already love, they give you a different tone and vibe, re-imagining their own work into something new, letting you fall in love all over again.
- Lisa Wallenberg – Lead Vocals
- Liam Strand – Keyboards/Orchestration/Songwriting/Vocals
- Olle Renius – Lead Guitars
- Jonatan Jakobsson – Rhythm Guitars
- Oscar Heikkinen – Drums
March 24, 2023
- A Gentle Breeze
- The First Flower Blooms
- The Old Gods – Requiem
- Shifting Seasons
Having fallen in love with the fully electric version of these songs, hearing them re-imagined acoustically is something I both dreaded and anticipated. Not every band is capable of stripping their music down and keeping the intangible essence of the original tunes. Those of us who are old enough remember MTV Unplugged. Not every band “nailed it.” Emetropia absolutely does.
From the opening, you hear how they lean into a Jazzy feel to this interpretation. The removal of Symphonic elements is replaced with a piano and what sounds like pipes in the background. The contrasting male and female voices with the additional backing vocals fill in the gaps left by the strings and horns from the original version. Lisa, in many places, has a timbre in her voice that reminds me of Simone Simons. She has a beautiful vocal quality that shines through, whether stripped down for this or in full force for the originals.
The lyrics don’t change much from the original tracks, but the delivery is totally different, giving the songs a new feel and a new meaning. These arrangements have a different quality than the originals; there is melancholy and sadness instead of angst, though you get tinges of the darker emotions even in the acoustic works.
One of my favorite parts of the acoustic versions of the songs is the keyboards they layer in. They go from upbeat to gloomy, prominent to barely audible, and carnival/calliope to almost church organ. They give so much character to the songs, influencing the texture greatly. They provide accents to the guitars, adding depth to the compositions.
Emetropia gets how to shift from electric to acoustic. The vocal delivery is different, as it should be, and the timbre of the songs is different, as it should be. They don’t just switch an electric guitar out for an acoustic one. They have entirely re-imagined the songs, making them new while keeping them familiar. This is not an easy task, but they accomplish it with great skill. I will admit, I still prefer the electric, mainly because those songs are bombastic, washing over you with undeniable power. However, these new versions are elegant, precise, and very well done, handled with loving care.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 10
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.40