Spheric Universe Experience is a progressive metal band which formed back in 1999 in France. They were first known as Gates of Delirium in the local southern France gigs where they played without vocals and keyboards, which were later added in 2001, resulting in far more live shows, another band name (Amnesya) and a single demo CD. They were adopted by Intromental Management in Denmark after hearing their 2003 demo, “The Burning Box” and the band, now known as Spheric Universe Experience finally began recording their first album, “Mental Torments” in August 2003 and were ready, after few lineup changes, to release the album on February 21st 2006 with “Nightmare Records”. Their influences range from Dream Theater, Symphony X, Andromeda, Pain Of Salvation, Angra, Planet X, etc.
“Unreal” is SUE’s latest album released in 2009 which was well received by fans and reviewers worldwide. Indeed the band puts an element of their own into their music, which I thought to be intense, creative and remarkably structured. I was really surprised once I read some negative reviews talking shit about the band, like this one by Mr. Hamano Kyousuke from diabolicalconquest.com >> “OK, I can’t know if it’s as bad as all that… but it is bad. I feel like the victim of all fevers and plague, listening to this.” I was later relieved when I saw the site’s top albums of the year topped with black metal/ death metal releases and I thought to myself “Oh, he might just be one of those anti-progressive/pro-extreme brutality folks, therefore his opinion on this album is equivalent to a pop star commenting on a death metal release”.
Still, I did agree with him on one matter: it takes more than one listen to form an opinion of this band. They are actually quite catchy if you’d ask me, but I guess my first exposure to the band wasn’t their finest hit. Here’s what you need to listen to on this release, and if that gets you interested, purchase/download/borrow/stream the album and give it a listen.
As always, I’d like everyone to watch this official album preview from the band’s Youtube channel to get a small glimpse of everything.
- Highlights of the album
Lost Ghost, which kicks off with a powerful guitar riff along with backing keyboard that has a certain vibe to it which I admired. The best part of this song stretches from 4:49 to the song’s end with a very entertaining instrumental progression.
Tomorrow, the last song on this album and what a song that is! The intro says it all and it will immediately appeal to progressive fans. Again, it takes some time to get accustomed to the band’s style but eventually you’ll be listening to this album in its entirety without those casual “Next Song” moments that average albums push us into doing.
White Willow, the opening song that truly is one heck of a song! The vocals aren’t the best vocals you’ll ever hear, but they will grow on you with time, along with the intensity of the album. There are several memorable moments on this song, especially the cool riff at 4:05, with the keyboards stressing an off-beat hit.
Other memorable moments include Near Death Experience, a keyboard-only song with a wonderful spooky atmosphere and Down Memory Lane, another good song on the album with a weird gypsy like introduction! Genuine material right there!
Finally, I’m not saying that this is my favorite progressive metal album of all time nor the most technically challenging one (the album doesn’t raise the bar high for other bands to follow). Still, the band released a really good and genuine effort, one that shows potential and uniqueness in style, why not support them? They’ll be putting out better releases in the future I hope, and until then reviewers should praise the good qualities of the band, not the ones that are missing from their favorite progressive bands!