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Top Notch Progressive Metal - 90%

The_Boss, May 29th, 2008

Spheric Universe Experience is a French progressive metal band much in the vein of Dream Theater and Pagan’s Mind. Take the overly bombastic and powerful approach of Dream Theater then take the spacey type keys of Pagan’s Mind and the complexity of both bands and you have something of a brainchild that is SUE. I swear, this is as progressive as it gets, having the complex and technicality that ensues when you find yourself a progressive band, and this is real progressive metal, I can assure you of that because the term ‘progressive’ is thrown around way too often around this scene. A very mature and powerful sophomore release SUE have taken all the elements from the masters of the genre and created a wonderful blend of something amazing.

From the get go of So Cold, having a mystical and atmospheric type opening, leading into some great crunchy and hard hitting riffs mixed with some excellent drumming that moves itself into a flowing perfect opener with a chanted and awesome sing along chorus. SUE have one of the coolest guitar tones this side of Pagan’s Mind, showcasing himself very well with memorable riffs and plenty of shredding intensity mixed with of course the spacey keys that express more of an atmospheric instrument than one that is used in cases such as Rhapsody or Freedom Call. Burning Box Gala is probably the best song on here that starts off very much like Pagan’s Mind and leads into some very heavy newer Dream Theater-esque riffs great for headbanging and just all out progressive beauty. The chunky guitar tone is absolutely perfect for progressive metal and is in great highlight in this song. I think the guitar playing here is most comparable to Michael Romeo’s later works with Symphony X such as on The Odyssey or Paradise Lost where it’s a lot heavier and a bit more grooving feel to it, all in all it’s plain awesome.

The musicianship here is stellar, the bass is powerful and hungry to get some great moments thrown in for fun bass fills. The keys and piano parts are great at adding an atmospheric space vibe much akin to Pagan’s Mind, just reminiscent to plenty of the wonderfully powerful and aggressive yet highly melodic songs off Celestial Entrance. The vocalist here is very talented and despite having that thick French accent he gives off a very professional vibe obviously being in the business of hitting awesome falsettos and showcasing a great range. The slower and lower parts show him being more emotional and having a sensitive side but sometimes it ranges on the point of sounding very effeminate and childish which can get a tad bit annoying. I’d have to say that in the end the musicianship and overall structures and complexity of the arrangements here are great in allowing each musician to have perfect time to show off their talent and actually be a part of the band, just check out the two closing epic 10+ songs Mental Torments and Echoes of the Stars, absolutely fantastic pieces of progressive work that highlight every instrument throughout it’s length and not once bores the listener.

Spheric Universe Experience are a great band, highly progressive in nature and take many influences from greats and masters of the genre like Dream Theater, Pagan’s Mind and Symphony X. I soon have a feeling they will be at the top of the list, any fan of the three bands mentioned should make it an obligation to check out this band right away, they are top notch progressive metal, and I for one am very lucky to be seeing them on this years Prog/Power USA bill.