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I have always liked Secret Sphere, however, I guess I could never say that I loved them; their music is undeniably emotive, sensitive and, of course, melodic as hell, however, there has always been something missing on their albums. A Time Never Come, for the longest time, was my favorite album of theirs, however, it just suffers terribly from the production; all of the ambition was there, all of the progressive compositions were there, however, the guitars (as well as everything besides the synth, really) just sound like shit and, when it comes to melodic/symphonic/whatever power metal, ace production is somewhat of a necessity. Well, it's 2008 now and, although I will fully admit I wasn't particularly excited or thrilled to be getting my hands on the new Secret Sphere album, I can now say that I should have been - Sweet Blood Theory, in a nutshell, is sickeningly awesome and I almost can't believe it's the same band that released Heart & Anger a few years ago.
Beginning off with a short instrumental, symphonic opener (unheard of when it comes to power metal, of course), we are taken into some very Danny Elfman-influenced territory and, despite the fact that symphonic openers are a cliche anymore, Evil Or Divine works, especially when taken into context with the album's real opener, Stranger In Black; it was after only about a minute-and-a-half into this song that I knew this was going to be Secret Sphere's best album - the production is unbelievably crisp and clear, easily their best to date, and the song just, well, fuckin' kills! As if things couldn't get any better after the steadfastly solid opening duo, we are delivered From A Dream To A Nightmare which, as far as I am concerned, is one of Secret Sphere's best songs ever, if not the best all together; it opens with another Elfman-esque moment, charging forward into some double-kick territory with strings frantically moving all over the place, creating an atmosphere very much accurate to what the title describes. Now, of course, this IS power metal we're talking about, right? - well, damn, the chorus! - seriously, power metal choruses, when done right, are some of the most incredible highs a metal listener can have (well, assuming that you like power metal, anyhow, although, if you do, you KNOW what I'm talking about) and, simply put, the chorus to From A Dream To A Night is one of these choruses and, wow, I love it! - as if the song couldn't get much better, we are then completely slain by ripping, ripping solos courtesy of Mr. Aldo Lonobile ... seriously, this song is everything power metal is about, done to pristine perfection.
Now, since we are talking about Secret Sphere here, we are of course delivered their unique brand of very sensitive, sweet and AOR-influenced songs, and, being a rather sappy fellow myself, I have always enjoyed these selections and, thankfully, Sweet Blood Theory is not without them. The Butterfly Dance, as well as All These Words, both move along with nearly ethereal, romantic melodies and, of course, all of the longing that comes with such emotions; they ARE beautiful, folks, despite the fact that, if stripped of the metal elements, they could be in Disney's Enchanted movie.
Secret Sphere have never been that big (in relation to bands like Sonata Arctica and Edguy), although well-respected in the power metal circles, however, with this album, I sincerely wish the band the best in terms of getting more ears tuned to their music; Sweet Blood Theory is definitely their best record to date, without a doubt, and, if you're open to hearing some power tuned to perfection, this should be on top of your list - right alongside Serenity's Fallen Sanctuary record, this IS the best power metal album of 2008.
Oh, and the closing track, Vampire's Kiss, is unreal too; fuck, this is a great album.