ThoughtSphere - Eos

Year of Release: 2002
Label: B-Mind
Catalog Number: 0135542PRE
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:05:00

It's hard to be underwhelmed by music that aggressively attacks its subject matter in the way that Germany's Thought Sphere do. And yet, I'm underwhelmed. There's plenty going on here, but there doesn't really seem to be any true direction for it. The musicians are going one way, the vocalist the other. They seem to come to some accord on "Hourglass," but otherwise, it just seems like a? a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing (with all due respect to Faulkner). That is, the band speed their way through wildly erratic metal tunes that could have used a little more fine tuning. Like many of the tracks, "Hourglass" is a chugging metal piece, but here the band seem to have united and are headed in the same direction. Heroic, multi-layered choruses and a more textured bridge make this track stand out ? the latter bit reminds me of Angra, actually; shame it comes on the fade out for the piece. The come together a little bit on "Eos," though not perfectly and it seems too little, too late. You've already become unimpressed. And that's surprising since this is their fourth release, discounting an EP released in 2001.

If "Hourglass" is the highlight, the lowlight is their tortured rendition of Spandau Ballet's "Gold" (which was on that abovementioned EP, too). The harsh attitude and driving energy are okay, but the effects applied here and there to Andreas Lohas' vocals sound like something went terribly wrong in the studio and nobody noticed. What it sounds like is Lohas took a moment to gargle while he snarled out the lyric. You don't have to have been a New Romantic to find yourself wishing you were hearing the original in this case. Nice idea to give a smooth ballad some bite ? poor execution.

Some audio flutters mar "Each Passing Moment," too, a track that begins in a manner that makes you think Eos is going to be something special (and a solo in "Prophecy" lives up to the promise), but in the end?isn't. The parts themselves work ? the quartet of Adrian Weiss on guitar, Jens Schäfer on guitar, Armin Alic on bass and Andreas Lösche on drums are a mostly tight unit and Lohse is a good vocalist. I think they should have just spent a little more time on blending the two elements together. I do like the spritely plucked guitar notes that close out the song, however.

There are moments that work and they usually when the band throttle back to serve up some interesting dynamics and textures. They'd actually do better as a melodic hard rock band than an overdriven, crunchy metal band. Those moments include a lyrical guitar solo here, or mellower passage there, spread throughout each track ? but for the most part, this is a full throttle, chugging attack. If they could build upon those moments, and improve upon the stronger aspects? then they'd truly have something. "Prophecy" is probably the most reasonably paced song, showing a good use of dynamics, though it isn't perfect.

"Shrine Of The Saint" has a bit of Rush feel to it before launching into something that will make you think of Queensryche - another case of a vocalist singing in a Tate like manner, deep and dramatic. It'd be ever more effective if the backing arrangement didn't just seem like swirly, crunchy noise. "Seventh Raven" almost gets there, though there is still a sense that while vocalist Lohse is doing his thing, the band are doing theirs.

While it seems rare for me to steer you away from a release, exploring this for yourself would be time better spent elsewhere. Since as of this writing, the band's website seems kaput, it's likely they've gone on to other things. Since they are talented players, just not talented producers/arrangers, one hopes they can latch on to someone, or each with several someones, that will let those talents shine through.

Each Passing Moment / Shrine Of The Saint / In Fate's Web / Seventh Raven / This Cosm's Wall / Hourglass / Gold / Prophecy / Eos

Andreas Lohse ? vocals
Adrian Weiss ? guitar
Armin Alic ? bass
Andreas Lösche ? drums
Jens Schäfer ? guitar

The Grailkeeper's Gate (1997)
Eden's Shore (1998)
Vague Horizons (2000)
Gold (ep) (2001)
Eos (2002)

Genre: Progressive Metal

Origin DE

Added: January 11th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1399
Language: english


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