Album Reviews

Aspera – Ripples

Released by Inside/Out Music – 2010

Review Added February 28, 2010

Released By: Inside/Out Music on January 22, 2010
Running Time: 54:45
Style: Prog Metal

1. Intro
2. Ripples**
3. Do I Dare
4. Remorse**
5. Between Black & White
6. Catatonic Coma**
7. Torn Apart
8. Traces Inside
9. Reflections
10. The Purpose**
Hot Tracks**

Vocals – Atle Pettersen
Guitar – Robin Ognedal
Drums – Joachim Ekelund
Bass –  Mike Rein Blomquist
Keyboards – Nickolas Henriksen

Ahh, my first prog metal review for 2010….   Prog metal is always an interesting genre to write about as the term itself has gotten wider and wider, and fans have become even more loyal to the genre than in the past.
The main problem though is where to draw the line of calling something progressive music. Some die hard fans think that all prog music must be odd time signatures and general weirdness, and on the hand are the people that are more forgiving in genre description and willing toaccept more artists as prog metal.
ASPERA’S debut album RIPPLES is made for the latter crowd, and will be sure to annoy the die hards of this style of music.

The style the band plays is around the SYMPHONY X sound mixed with a bit of early EVERGREY, but there is also a very strong melodic element, which makes the album one of the catchiest and most accessible prog releases in recent memory. Also of note is that the longest song on the album only goes for around eight minutes, which is quite short compared to some other prog epics, but works well for the band here. Don’t get me wrong, each of the album’s ten tracks manage to combine a lot of different pieces, it’s just that ASPERA don’t let odd time signatures and the likes get in the way of a good melody.
The fact that these guys are all only in their early twenties may be a put off for some people, but don’t worry, these young Norwegians are more than capable of mixing it up with the heavyweights of the genre.

Also of special note is vocalist ATLE PETTERSEN. While he doesn’t have a typical voice that you usually find in the genre, his take on the style is excellent. His voice is slightly reminiscent of alt rock bands like BREAKING BENJAMIN combined with some classical and operatic elements. Don’t fear though, ASPERA sounds nothing like alt tock, just top class catchy, melodic prog metal. It wouldn’t be a prog metal album if we didn’t have the obligatory minute and a half intro, so once that’s done the album proper can begin. And begin it does, with the awesome title track “RIPPLES”. DO I DARE? Has a bit of an AOR vibe to it and is a very enjoyable track. The are many moments throughout the album that stand out but the main highlight tracks would be RIPPLES, ” REMORSE”and my personal favorite “CATATONIC COMA”.

RIPPLES is outstanding when you take in to consideration that it’s the bands debut album, and would be a perfect gift for someone that’s interested in prog metal but isn’t sure where to start, as it is catchy and melodic enough to not scare people off, but progressive enough to show what the genre sounds like in this modern era.

Written by Zeezee

Ratings Zeezee  8/10

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