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French “progressive metal” act, Spheric Universe Experience, have been steadily removing the progressive elements from their music since their inception. Their first album, “Mental Torments”, fit right alongside the Dream Theater's and Fates Warning's of the world, but with each subsequent album, the band has leaned more and more towards alternative and groove metal territory and further and further away from anything remotely progressive. “The New Eve” sees the band further distancing themselves from their early progressive leanings, leaving nary a trace behind.
From the first track, the aptly titled “Shut Up” (because that's what I wish the band would do), to the bitter end of the album, Spheric Universe Experience play a potently annoying mix of hard rock, alternative and groove metal. The guitars chug along with a palm muted nu metal bounce, while the keyboards fling in some electrico / snytho sounds to give a menacing “industrial” feel to the music. The chunky, grooving guitar lines wouldn't sound out of place on the newest Linkin Park or Mudvayne album.
It would be bad enough if the guitar and keyboards were the only annoyances here, but, alas, it is not so. The vocals are enough to drive any fan of old fashioned progressive metal up a wall. The vocalist gives his best shot at the ever so popular 2000's post grunge hard rock sound that is plastered on popular radio and has been shoved down everyone's throats since the mid 90's. This guy sounds like a cross between the singer from Incubus, Nickelback and any number of American Idol hopefuls that took a guitar to their audition with them, but without a real sense of individuality. The whiny, bitch fest vocals would fit right in with your mom's Clay Aiken CDs, except this guy can't really stay in key. Listen to “Angel” if you don't believe me. Honestly, it's that bad. I'm actually really surprised that this song doesn't get airplay on all of the “Hard Rock” stations, because it sounds like all of the garbage currently getting rotation.
I have no idea how this band was ever once progressive at all. Every song on here is watered down and flaccid. The guitars chug along for pretty the entire album with a bouncy “jumpdafuckup” style. There might be distortion, but I'm not impressed. The drums plod along aimlessly with less life than a decomposing body. The keyboards wank away adding some oh so dark and dreary electric touches. Honestly, how did these clowns release “Mental Torments”? This is so far removed from progressive metal that it's not even funny.
The only thing that even hints at the band's once progressive nature is the occasional fruity guitar solo. These solos are like the rest of the music: limp and lifeless. It sounds like the band said, “Hey! We're progressive, so we need to put some solos here!” You're not fooling anyone, idiots. Just because you palm mute and use distortion does not make your music good. Just because you learned to wank out some scales doesn't make your guitar work progressive. It's bands like this that give outsiders the wrong idea about metal.
After this band dropped the extremely disappointing “Unreal” in 2009, I was hoping they would get their asses back to playing good music. They did the opposite and went further into groovy alterna-metal. Spheric Universe Experience has climbed to the top of the shit tower. Unless you think Korn and Slipknot are the gods of metal, stay away from this. Just because the guy plays two or three solos does not make this progressive metal. The vocals are abominable, the guitars are weak and the songs all blend together. “The New Eve” is chock full of chunky, bouncy guitar lines and whining, alternative vocals. If you see this anywhere, do us all a favor and destroy it.