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Everfriend Sphere of Influence album cover
2.04 | 7 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ambience Won
2. Everfriend Overture For Piano And Electronic Orchestra
3. Given The Time
4. Music Means The World To Me
5. On The Fringe
6. Sonorplasm - Birth
7. Terra Firmus
8. Theme of Peace

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Rhodes / keyboards, vocals
- Mike Jacoby / drums
- Paul Kozub / bass

Thanks to AtomicCrimsonRush for the addition
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EVERFRIEND Sphere of Influence ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (71%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

EVERFRIEND Sphere of Influence reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Andy Webb
2 stars By 1981, symphonic prog was all but dead. The big acts had started to dabble in pop rock and enjoyed the success, the lesser acts were trying to keep up the tradition but almost always failed miserably, and critics and fans had turned all of their attention to punk, new wave, and essentially anything other than progressive rock. Yet, a few rogue obscure bands still were determined to produce a quality piece of symphonic prog. While the early 80s did produce a few very rare gems of progressive rock mastery such as Bacamarte's Depois de Fim or Asia Minor's Between Flesh and Divine, I can safely say that Everfriend's debut and sole album Sphere of Influence was not one of those gems.

To get a feeling of what Everfriend, an obscure a little-known American prog band, sounds like, take Emerson Lake and Palmer's sound and do absolutely nothing to it, because Everfriend is, essentially, an ELP clone. While the album contains sprinklings of more jazz than Keith Emerson allowed in his own compositions and more 80s synths and other more "modern" twists, Everfriend bathes in the keyboard-led, baroque inspired, progressive rock tradition championed by Emerson Lake and Palmer. However, unlike ELP, Everfriend fails at capturing the organic and "original" sound that ELP was able to capture in their first few albums. While the fact that Everfriend's songs have more cheddar in them than a 2nd grader's view of the moon is discerning, it's the complete and utter lack of creativity that was put into the album that really gets me. While in this paragraph alone I think I've said it enough, this entire album sounds like it is straight from an ELP practice session - it's just that these are the songs that ELP wouldn't have even put on their albums. The pseudo-jazz piano/organ/synth passages led by Palmer-esque drum beats after Palmer-esque drum beats is suffocating to say the least, and the eight relatively short pieces have little to no flow or natural rhythm other than a pithy mixture of symphonic nonsense and forced progressive rock themes. The album is mostly instrumental, and this is a plus, as the sparse vocals aren't the best you can get - that is, the singer isn't good at all.

Overall, Everfriend's Sphere of Influence wasn't good. While the playing and production of the album was fine and the three guys had all the right intentions, the execution of their dried out uncreative songs was not the best the progressive world has to offer. It's no surprise this band dropped off the face of the earth after the release of this album, as there's really no music that could have possibly met wide appeal that would have prompted the band to go further with their efforts. Overall, the album may have one or two redeeming qualities, but this album is only for die-hard ELP fans desperate for more of the same or symphonic prog completionists who need every album they can find. 2- stars.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
2 stars Everfriend are the sound of the 80s as prog was lying on its death bed. It is gratifying that at least some bands maintained semblances of prog that had the death rattles, but Everfriend decided to clone the ELP sound. What we have here is fairly much a very symphonic piano and synth dominated album.

'Ambience Won' has a lot of electronic tinkles, piano echoes, and tons of synth ambience from Bill Rhodes. It is a pleasant relaxing piece but forgettable as there is no catchy melody.

'Everfriend Overture For Piano And Electronic Orchestra' is the electrical answer to Beethoven. I remember all the albums churned out in the 80s of instrumental Moog with albums such as Switched on Classics, Moog Synth Greats or Synthesiser Themes; this sounds like one of those album tracks.

'Given The Time' has a nice piano motif and spaciness, with electric piano and sustained key pads. The bassline is excellent from Paul Kozub and Mike Jacoby's drums provide a strong beat. It switches time sig and launches into a jazz fusion rhythm. The drum solo leads to a similar melody to the previous tracks. This is perhaps one of the more accomplished tracks on the album.

'Music Means The World To Me' is a song that has some pleasant melancholy sounds. The rare vocals are rather subdued but I think this is one of the better tracks due to the classical nuances. I kind of like the sentiment in the lyrics as I agree with it. The vocals on the one song are okay but Lake did better, and they are often layered or processed to make them sound better. This is a good move as they are nothing to write home about.

'On The Fringe' has that ELP synth sound similar to 'Brain Salad Surgery' era. It is a decent melody but again offers nothing new to the table. The drumming is better and I kind of like the dramatic melodic vibe that it exudes. This is perhaps one of the best tracks overall with nice spacey atmospheres.

'Sonorplasm ' Birth' is a piano and synth instrumental with some spacey textures, not too bad in the scheme of things.

'Terra Firmus' is a rather naff track with lots of cheesy 'ba ba baba ba's' and a lot of 'oh oh oh oh oooohhhhh's' as we hear classical piano and synth maintain a weird melody. A real stinker. 'Theme of Peace' has fast ivory tinkling very well played by Rhodes. It is basically a solo on piano executed with dramatic staccato notes, and the synth lines augment the soundscape.

Overall this album has a few decent tracks but really is obscure due to the fact that the band does not offer anything new, the music does not progress, rather stays on the one classical note, and it is an example of a failed 80s recording. The album is a one off, the band are an obscurity, and they were never heard of again. No wonder it faded from the music scene as really the content is rather mediocre. 2 stars for the 2 or 3 good tracks.

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