When it comes to progressive heavy metal, there’s never really been any particular city or region associated with the genre. Seattle had grunge, Los Angeles had glam metal and Nashville is still the country music capital of the world. But prog metal? Seems like those bands can spring up just about anywhere. Even, as it turns out, in Wells, Maine.

The Diapasyn is a prog metal quintet formed in 2012 that indeed hails from Wells. Any band choosing to play in this particular style has to walk a fine line. If the music gets too technical and strays too far into the prog rock side of things, the band can lose its edge and end up sounding more like Yes than Black Sabbath. Stray too far into metal territory, and a band risks scaring off some of its more sensitive fans, or risks burying its technical skills under a blanket of distortion.

The Diapasyn do an admirable job of planting one foot solidly in both the metal and the prog camps with its first album, “Repercussions.” Unfortunately, a thin production takes a bit of the bite out of the metal. And on some of the longer compositions, there’s an occasional loss of focus that takes away from the progressiveness.

Opening track “Question” works well as a calling card, immediately letting listeners know what they’re in for musically. Dream Theatre and late period Rush are the big influences here, and the performances are tight and well executed, particularly that of drummer Leigh Levitt. The opening metallic chords, however, clang when they should crunch, robbing the song of some of its visceral power. Vocalist Lee Ross starts off with a soft croon, but adds power as the song builds toward the first chorus. The guitar solo is particularly satisfying, finally delivering a little bit of that metallic punch we’ve been craving.

“Summer” is a mellower but surprisingly pretty track, anchored by some nice bass work, courtesy of Aaron Wynne. He’s got a flowing style that gives the song a jazzy feel at times. Acoustic guitar from Ross adds a bit of color and depth, but the last two minutes are full-on metal, complete with a bit of guitar harmony from Josh Hayes and Nate Ross.

Clocking in at over nine minutes, “Torpedo” is the longest track on the album. With multiple solos and plenty of time changes (including a brief foray into speed metal around the four minute mark), this is the song that will appeal most to prog metal fans. It’s similar to mid-period Fates Warning, and a bit of echo on Lee Ross’ vocals as she harmonizes with herself toward the end adds a nice ethereal touch.

Some odd and frankly distracting percussion clatter hampers “Father,” but drummer Levitt redeems himself later on with some terrific double-kick drum work. However, toward the end of the song the band seems to lose a bit of focus. It’s as if Ross is struggling with finding the proper placement for her vocals in the arrangement. It doesn’t help that she has to compete with some complex but unnecessary drum fills.

The most satisfyingly metallic track on the album is “Goodboy.” The song gallops along at an exhilarating Iron Maiden-esque pace for much of its eight-plus minutes, with some mellow interludes once again showcasing Ross’ softer croon. Juxtaposed against the aggressive riffs, the quiet moments add a little breathing room, the band making good use of light and dark shades here. Still, while one can clearly hear all the instruments in the mix, bringing the guitars to the fore just a bit more could have given the song a little more heft.

First albums are rarely perfect, and “Repercussions” is no exception. Certainly the excesses of prog metal aren’t for everyone. Still, the seeds of something pretty interesting have been sewn here. The members of The Diapasyn are already skilled musicians. With a little tightening up here and there and some minor production tweaks, the band’s next release could turn out to be something special.

And who knows? If the band continues to develop its sound and gains enough of a following, Wells might just turn out to be the new progessive metal hotbed!

Check in with The Diapasyn on Facebook, and stream the album at diapasyn.bandcamp.com/album/repercussions.

Rick Johnson is a freelance writer and radio host from Westbrook. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]