Spheric Universe Experience – The New Eve (Nightmare Records)Tuesday, 26th March 2013
I believe this release from Spheric Universe Experience is going to be completely polarizing for fans. All of the band’s progressive metal elements have been dropped for a more accessible approach. It’s hard to understand why a band would so drastically alter their sound, especially given how integral the complex arrangements and interesting guitar leads attest for their riff-laden progressive identity.
For the uninitiated though, Spheric Universe Experience released their debutMental Torments in 2005, and it was bombastic, spacey and exhibiting that progressive complexity to force you to quickly take notice. Often compared to Dream Theatre and Pagan’s Mind, the band fit nicely into a sound reminiscent of both of those musical counterparts, so it seemed they had something very special in the offering. Unfortunately though, the sophomore effort (Anima) was solid, but they really faltered with Unreal in 2009. Probably because the song writing lacked heart and the progressive elements were slowly being edged out of their sound.
Obviously the band was slipping badly, and there’s no need to look any further than with this new release. Much of what made this band so unique is now axed out of their sound. What you get in return is an album of modern sounding alternative rock with industrial synthesizers underpinning it all. The biggest and most notable change though is the vocal delivery of Franck Garcia, who utilizes pop vocals instead of the more immediate and heartfelt approach on earlier releases. I guess it works on some tracks, most notably on “Self Abuse” and “Shut Up,” I just wish it would have made the remaining material as enjoyable.
Things aren’t a total loss though, especially on track three “Escape.” Arguably the strongest song on this feeble release, it encompasses crunchy riffing and pushes forward to a satisfying conclusion. If there were more songs of this caliber, then maybe this release wouldn’t be so disappointing. It also doesn’t help to have one dimensional guitar tones permeating throughout this disc, so maybe that may account for the stagnation in the writing department too. The ballad “Angel” is so cheesy and horribly written and executed, that it pains me to even fathom how this song ever made it onto this disc.
As I mentioned at the top, I feel this release will be polarizing to fans of this band. The New Eve is surely a step into a different direction for Spheric Universe Experience, and I wonder if this more accessible approach will win them a new fanbase. It may take some time getting used to the crunchy riffing, but the lack of solos will make it harder to accept this new style. I wish them the best of luck with this new direction, but I fear they may have already shot themselves in the foot with the strange choices made in the writing department.
(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)