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Spheric Universe Experience - Mental Torments CD (album) cover


Spheric Universe Experience


Progressive Metal

4.17 | 73 ratings

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4 stars A fine English wine, as well as a fine French prog band, have been a joke in the minds of European and American citizens alike for years.

This CD is great, it's very entertaining and has lots of good riffs. Here's a sound sketch of the band:

Vanden Plas type vocals Kevin Moore piano parts meet Circus Maximus keyboard parts meet jazz fusion Heavy guitar that switches between chugging and fast, rampant riffs Lots of bass and bass solos Drum riffs that are similar to Mike Portnoy on Images and Words

Pros: Great use of odd meters Lots of emotion Great Piano Parts Jazz fusion elements Songs like Burning Box Gala have lots of great riffage

Cons: Dumb lyrics because of translations Tense sound gets exapsperating

What can I say about this album? The band is great, and I love their most recent album, Unreal. This album, however, like it's name, can be exhausting. Most of the material has this heavy (not guitar-wise, heavy as in baggy-eyed), tiring, sad feel. It exhausts me, and some of the album fades into the background like Tool...except when Tool does it, it's because they want to.

Mixed in with its awesome riffs, there are a lot of unexciting moments where riffs just seem to go on waaaay too long. This band is amazing, and Unreal is a must-have prog album. This one however, is good, but not essential.

I give it a 3.5/5, and for the sake of S.U.E. being an awesome band, I will round up to 4. Before you check out this CD, turn to Unreal and listen to that first. It is a much better representation of this band's skill level and talent.

An outline of the general sounds of the songs:

The CD starts slowly and...coldy with the intro to the song "So Cold", with it's clean, reverb drenched guitar giving a full sound. When the distorted guitar comes in on top of that, you know you're listening to something cool. A few meter changes and it picks up, the singing coming in (in my case, English with a French accent.) Once the singing comes in, it sounds very Vanden Plas - the guitar part is very reminiscent of songs like "Shadow I Am" and the singing sounds like "Christ 0" or "Wish You Were Here". This song has some cool clean riffage with the distorted parts on top.

Next comes "Now or Never", which starts with a few bars of acoustic, then transfers to a Dream Theater-like distorted octaved thing, finally going to a chuggy thing with piano chords and synthesized symphony on top. The drums play a cool bass drum thing. This one can be lackluster.

"Burning Box Gala" starts out with a techno like piano thing, and is immediately very fast and heavy. It really sets itself apart from the first two, more depressing songs. A classic rock hammer-on thing comes in, meters start to shift around. It drops out into some cool bass with synthesizer symphony effects on top for a bit, when this weird guitar part comes in, then drops away to chugging to leave a strange piano part. This is very jazz fusiony at parts, and switches to a very happy space sounding, fast riff in between. Think of O.B.E. from Unreal meets Sane No More by Circus Maximus. Tons of cool riffs in this one, really like it. Lots of bass solos, lots of jazz.

Saturated Brain is also fast and tense, rushing along on guitar through meter changes and under keyboard effects until the singer comes in. (Once again, sounds like a French Andy Kuntz). Lots of cool riffs later in the song. This is cool if you like the faster riffs but want singing on top. A little more of a tense sound, but sad like the first two.

Moonlight has another clean piano part, which tells us more about the keyboard player. Cool bass and a drum solo at the beggining. Calm, depressed, eventually gets covered by tons of fast synth and piano solos, along with some keyboard and effects. Gets really fast and rampant, the singer goes a little heavier towards the James LaBrie side of things. But stays in tune. Fun guitar solo with lots of whammy effects and meter changes. It is depressing like the first two songs.

Halleygretto is a fun, short, classical sounding thing on piano again. It sounds very happy and sets itself apart from the saturated, sad sound of the other songs. The guitar and keyboard go into this really cool thing in some weird meters, lots of fun riffs, and even some Planet X type chuggy riffs with keyboard on top, and at some parts sounds like it could make a cool addition to a Derek Sherinian album.

Mental Torments the title track, is a whopping fifteen minutes long. Starts with drum and bass solo, guitar comes in very muted in some weird meter that I haven't tabbed yet, gets wah and goes crazy...but it still has this depressed sound. Very sad and minory. This song gets really crazy, and is worth tons of listens because of a lot of awesome riffs.

Sidereal Revolution starts off with just bass, a cool drum lick, and is one of my favorite songs on the CD. Think of a more tense Learning to Live by Dream Theater.

Echos in the Stars, the last sad song, is very Pink Floydish, with lots of piano, clean guitar, and epic, 80's like drumming, feels good as an epic closer to the album.

mindsmoothie | 4/5 |


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