Triosphere – The Road Less Traveled (AFM Records)

Tuesday, 19th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

What is this? Smart, savvy, free-of-pretense progressive metal? And it’s from Norway? Sweet Jebus, what is the world coming to?

The Road Less Travelled is the band’s second album, demonstrating a degree of songwriting know-how and intuitiveness that hasn’t been displayed by young band in quite some time. Seriously, the bulk of these songs virtually smear the works of prog/power metal veterans that have been doing this for much longer. Think of a more finely-tuned Lost Horizon, minus the pomp and necessity for long songs. But it’s not power metal, nor is it strict, to-the-book progressive metal either.

Key to the band’s success is singer/bassist Ida Haukland, who has a rafter-reaching range, one that he carefully pushes in spots to staggering effect. Case in point, the pre-chorus in “The Anger and the Silent Remorse,” where the woman (hard to believe; we know) lends some masterful harmonies to the proceedings; same for “Marionette” and “Watcher.” There’s just a litany of massive, king-sized hooks here that are hard to deny.

Musically, hats off to guitar players Marius Silver Bergesen and T.O. Byberg, both of whom display a penchant for melodically-refined chord choices and to-the-gut riffs. Neither player over-extends themselves, preferring for simpler conducts during “21” and “World’s Apart.”

A certified Top-10 of 2010 candidate for this scribe, The Road Less Travelled is one of those rare finds from a band no one knows about…yet. And if we were to have any kind of mission for this year, it would be to make people known about Triosphere. With any luck, we’re looking at the future of power/progressive metal right in front of our faces.

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