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Spheres - Iono

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 07 June 2019, 2:07 AM

“Iono” is the first album of SPHERES, Paris based alternative Prog metal band, is released on May 10, 2019. The invitation to spatio-galactic travel is one of the main dimensions of the album, what is obvious is the multitude of contrasts and textures that characterizes it. Sharp riffs with strong melodies, from clean to growl and scream vocals, ambiances oscillating between dream and frenzy… everything is done to shake the listeners up and invite them to take part in the journey. In fact, nothing has been left to chance, including the artwork by Julien Grelet illustrations, even before the first notes, the dystopian, supernatural dimensions of an album that shuffles temporalities and breaks down the barriers between musical genres. The album contains eight tracks. “The Cimmerian Ghost” leads off the album, with a dark entrance. The harsh vocals are interesting. They aren’t entirely harsh, but contrast with the clean vocals for sure. Other than that, the main riff is a bit simple and the sound is a bit thin. It stays somewhat grounded, though the guitar solo is eerie and spooky.

“Mars” is about half in length from the previous track. The harsh vocals come through strongly here. But other than that, there isn’t much to get excited about. The riffing pattern is fairly elementary, and there isn’t much in the way of layers. “Television Nation” is over seven minutes in length. It opens with some promise…clean melancholy vocals and a mid-tempo pace, with some hard bottom lines. Darkness permeates the song, but again it doesn’t really develop to its fullest potential. “Break Loose” opens as an unfortunately another slow, drawn out song that relies on one main riff to carry the sound. It picks up in pacing a bit, with harsh vocal whispers. There are some variations here, and now I can say that I am listening to Progressive music. “Stellar” has some odd connections between the vocals and the music. It’s another mid-tempo song that is drowned in darkness and again never quite gets off the ground, though the fuzzy interlude after the half-way mark does bring a different dimension to the table. “Silk Road” falls into the same trap…an overused pace and muddied with melancholy tones. The lead guitar work here however shows some real potential. “The Thing” opens with some promise…the bass guitar work is fantastic at building a heavy cadence while the guitars dance above with some eerie passages in the background. The shouted passages are different. “Sound City” closes the album. It’s mired in that same boring and dragged tempo as earlier tracks. Some keyboards keep it at least somewhat interesting, but again, I don’t need to repeat myself.

At times, some Proggy elements shine through, but overall, there isn’t much to get excited about here. The album, like thousands of others I have reviewed, is stuck in the “mid-tempo blues.” Too many songs have the same tempo, and that’s what fails to lift it off the ground. There is potential here, and being that this is the debut release, I sincerely hope they will take to some constructive criticism and grow for their next release.
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. The Cimmerian Ghost
2. Mars
3. Television Nation
4. Break Loose
5. Stellar
6. Silk Road
7. The Thing
8. Sound City
Jonathan Lino
Tommi P
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 01 February 2023

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