Spheric Universe Experience - Anima
Sensory Records
Progressive Metal
11 songs (67'39)
Release year: 2007
Spheric Universe Experience, Sensory Records
Reviewed by Marty
Anima is the second album from this French progressive metal band. Their debut album Mental Torments showed a lot of promise and was a strong showcase for this band to reveal the immense talent that each and everyone in this band possesses. In my review of that album, I was very impressed with the sound and their mastery of the Dream Theater, Symphony X style of technical prog metal but with all the technicalities came the realization that there was something lacking in their songs. Whether it was a sense of cohesiveness or lack of melodic hooks, there were still a few missing pieces to complete the puzzle. Fast forward to their new album Anima and statements from the band themselves have echoed my sentiments exactly. Sensing that their fans even had a hard time remembering songs or distinguishing one from another, the band has made a conscious effort to concentrate more on melodies and song structures rather than barrage the listener with seemingly endless exercises in prog metal self-indulgence. The result is a more focussed and riff-laden effort that has more melody and melodic hooks than ever before and is slowly climbing my list of potential prog metal albums of the year.

This band really does have a strong grasp on the ultra-guitar heavy and riff-laden Dream Theater style. The endless tempo and time signature changes make for quite an exciting ride. Guitarist Vince Benaim sure has some tasteful hooks and is a master of inserting just the right riff for the songs. Songs like Sceptic alter between thundering prog metal to speedy power metal-like segments and highlight the band's new approach by infusing awesome melodic vocals and catchy choruses that give each track more of a unique character than ever before. Lead vocalist Frank Garcia really has done a great job of strengthening his voice and even though he has the same sort of range as James LaBrie (Dream Theater) he still has that emotional Dirk Thurisch (ex-Angel Dust) quality that comes through with tracks like The Inner Quest. Things taker a slightly more modern twist with Neptune's Revenge with speedy, de-tuned guitar riffing and very technical interludes; playing once again with very odd time signatures. Overall, Vince Benaim (guitar) has a much stronger presence on this album and his choice of riffs and guitar tone is simply killer. World Of Madness sees a slightly more abstract sound yet still delivers some great heavy prog metal. The vocals really soar on this one and once again, the strong focus on vocal melodies is front and center. With the pair of tracks End Of Trauma and Heal My Pain, things get a little more progressive overall with mixes of quiet and heavier segments but with speedy interludes for the solo sections. The Key has more of an epic feel than others on this album and with the mix of guitars, keys and Frank Garcia's voice, progressive rock icons Saga come to mind. The album finishes with an instrumental tour-de-force entitled Black Materia that has everything from speedy and technical guitar and keyboard trade-offs to seemingly endless tempo changes and soloing.

Right from the first album Mental Torments, this band had everything in place. Their sound and production is as good (or better) than any other progressive netal band out there and with a very strong vocalist in their ranks, I sensed that we had a real player here. With this new album Anima, things are starting to come full-circle for this band. Everything that was missing or simply overdone on their previous album has been added, modified and improved upon. Solid shredding lead guitar work, a strong keyboard presence, crunching heavy riffs and an absolutely stunning sound are now complemented by stronger vocals, more melody and memorable choruses. What more could a progressive metal fan ask for? Check out some sound samples on the band's website.....you'll be glad you did.....

Killing Songs :
Sceptic, The Inner Quest, World Of Madness, The Key and Black Materia
Marty quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Spheric Universe Experience that we have reviewed:
Spheric Universe Experience - Mental Torments reviewed by Marty and quoted 76 / 100
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