October 23rd, 2021
Playing time: 40:19

Persona have existed since 2012, when singer and pianist Jelena Dobrić and guitarist Melik Melek Khelifa met in Tunisia. Shortly afterwards, the two founded a band together. Persona quickly gained a high level of recognition in Tunisia.  The first single “Blinded” was released in 2013 and the debut “Elusive Reflections” was self-released in 2016. For the follow-up “Metamorphosis”, the musicians started a crowdfunding campaign. In September 2017, the band got the chance to present their music to an international audience at FemME in Eindhoven. In 2019, some of the musicians moved to Germany. Here, some new comrades-in-arms had to be found. Shortly afterwards, the work on the third album “Animal” started, which was also financed via crowdfunding.

Already “Ghost” shows the direction of the journey. Industrial sounds at the beginning, as if a machine or an aggregate is being started. But soon heavy riffs and dissonant guitar sounds set in. As on the previous albums, singer Jelena Dobrić shows that she perfectly masters the change between clear vocals and growls. And her growls sound even more evil than before. Her clear voice was partly technically alienated. Thanks to melody and rhythm changes, a strong progressive edge can be heard. The progressive vibes continue on the title track “Animals”. In contrast to the heavy metal orientation, the chorus sounds melodic. In “Beyond”, the singer scores with ethereal vocals. Without, of course, completely abandoning the growls. The same goes for “Hurricane”. Here you can quickly sing along to the chorus, which is powerfully underpinned by guitars. Even though Jelena is only listed as the singer in the line-up, I think she is also responsible for the discreet piano sounds in the melodic “You Can’t Stop Me”. On the other hand, the riffs in “Oracle” are much heavier, even if they don’t quite reach the heaviness in the first two songs. Then “Shadows” sounds contemplative. Here, the e-piano is the dominant instrument at first. Later, the other instruments join in, as if in an escalating run. The ballad is a wonderful resting point on the album. But the contemplation is only short. Already in “Shout Out Loud” the guitars roar again and Jelena gets all the viciousness out of her voice in the growls. But she is also able to whisper and sing in high (operatic) soprano. During the chorus of “Alpha” you can sing along again. You certainly wouldn’t have expected that from the harsh start of the song. In between, the rhythm section also does a hard job. And catchy choruses are very important to Persona, as the closing song “Swallow The Night” proves.

You can very well compare “Animal” to a chameleon. That’s how quickly and frequently the timbres are changed here. Persona are more varied in 2021 than ever before. But that also makes it exhausting to listen to. You have to concentrate immensely. Of course, the sound lives from the varied vocals of front woman Jelena Dobrić. But her colleagues also play a significant role in the success of the album. First and foremost, the guitar duo Melik Melek Khelifa and Yosri Ouada, with their hard riffs and well-placed hooklines. Both were already part of the band on the previous album. And the two new members on bass and drums, Eike H. Nehen and Simon Schröder, provide a lot of pressure.

Persona – Ghost (Official Video):


Melik Melek Khelifa – Guitars
Yosri Ouada – Guitars
Jelena Dobrić – Vocals
Eike H. Nehen – Bass
Simon Schröder – Drums

Track list:

  • Ghost
  • Animal
  • Beyond
  • Hurricane
  • You Can’t Stop Me
  • Oracle
  • Shadows
  • Shout Out Loud
  • Alpha
  • Swallow the Night
  • Album - 8/10
  • Cover Art - 8/10
  • Song Writing - 9/10


Disturbingly Good


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