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Spheric Universe Experience - Unreal (8/10) - France - 2009

Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Sensory
Playing time: 49:37
Band homepage: Spheric Universe Experience

Tracklist:

  1. White Willow
  2. Down Memory Lane
  3. Lakeside Park
  4. 3rd Type
  5. Near Death Experience
  6. Lost Ghost
  7. Dragged
  8. O.B.E.
  9. Tomorrow
Spheric Universe Experience - Unreal

“Unreal” is the third album from French Proggers SPHERIC UNIVERSE EXPERIENCE, and it’s packing a creepy new cover and an edgier, less cursive logo. The question is, will “Unreal” also pack a bigger musical punch than its predecessors?

 

Instrumentally, the band sounds not unlike a more technical EVERGREY. That same Modern/Alternative sound that pervades EVERGREY’s recent work (especially “Torn”) is present during most of “Unreal,” except it works a hell of a lot better for SPHERIC UNIVERSE EXPERIENCE than it does for EVERGREY. The key to not sounding like THREE DAYS GRACE when you drop your tuning is to keep your music fast, jerky, and interesting, which, fortunately, describes most of this album.

 

“White Willow” kicks things off with some fairly generic-sounding riffage, but eventually Fred Colombo’s spacey keys arrive on the scene, and then shit starts to get interesting. A prechorus consisting of singer Franck Garcia shouting “(insert verb here) me” over and over again follows, but it works surprisingly well with the choppy rhythm pattern. And then the majestic, soaring chorus hits like a wave of fresh air, but we quickly pass through the eye and back into the storm. And voila, a kickass Prog Metal song.

 

Sadly, some of the other tracks just don’t measure up. “Lakeside Park” feels like “White Willow Lite,” as it also does the choppy shouting thing and the big chorus, but both of them fall flat. The sense of breakneck speed and urgency was what made “White Willow” so great; “Lakeside Park” suffers due to its lack of it.

 

While a few of the songs aren’t so great, the awesome thing about “Unreal” is that each song has many distinct parts to it, thus keeping things interesting. Rarely are you ever allowed to feel like you’re stuck in a rut before the band jerks you into a sound completely different from what you were just listening to. In most cases, the transition is seamless.

 

“Unreal” is an above-average Prog experience that should appeal to all fans of the genre. It’s got heavy-as-balls verses combined with irresistibly smooth choruses, not to mention some pretty technical instrumental wizardry. There’s definitely something for all types of Prog fans in this release.

(Online June 16, 2009)

Mitchel Betsch



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