Neurosphere – Anthem of the Lost – (Part 1 – Nightwards) (Revalve Records)Monday, 23rd December 2019
Joy reigns when discovering an international band that hits diverse aural checkboxes for your own personal listening pleasure. Such is the case this scribe finds with Neurosphere – an Italian quintet together since 2003 and parading around a mixture of melodic death metal with thrash, progressive rock, and 70’s influences through this second full-length Anthem of the Lost – (Part 1- Nightwards). The six years between records included a falling out and reconciliation between bassist Mimma Pietrucci and keyboardist Marco Minno plus recruiting a new guitarist in Alessandro Rutolo – and overall the compositions bristle with a mixture of intriguing atmosphere and catchiness, incorporating influences from various sources in different genres to make a potent, addictive musical cocktail.
The use of clean and growl vocals from guitarist Fabrizio Oliva with support from Marco Minno opens up lots of colors when the band want to paint portraits heavier or otherwise – giving “Doomcrafter” for instance that feel of 90’s Metallica careening headlong into the commercial sides of Soilwork or Amorphis, especially given Marco’s organ segments against the twin guitar rhythms and harmony lines. Cyber swirls float in and out of the otherwise thrash burner “Anything’s Given”, drummer Marco Lio punctuating his solid groove mechanics with exciting fills and occasional blast bursts, the progressive instrumental shuffle bit classic in its Opeth-oriented method. The rhythm section mechanics often drive the guitars and keyboards in surprising directions – as “Mindquake” lives up to its namesake, a peppy affair filled with thrilling back and forth clean/death voicing as well as progressive meets groove-oriented metal switches, balancing a heavy/light atmosphere over it’s 6:42 time frame. And when you want some of that cultural/epic riffing that makes you want to march triumphantly into battle, look no further than “Consciousness Rising” to give you that strength and energy, the guitars and keyboards combining seamlessly to achieve that result.
It’s not often that you mention a mixture of progressive, thrash, melodic death, and groove metal acts in one band and they can somehow siphon these influences into a cohesive, creative platform – but Neurosphere succeed on this album. And fortunately for us, there will be at least a part two sequel looming on the horizon to savor.