Sonic Debris - Velvet Thorns

Year of Release: 2000
Label: DVS Records
Catalog Number: DVS001
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:18:00

Sonic Debris's debut Velvet Thorns is the first album released by the new DVS label based in the Netherlands and owned by the man behind the popular ProgPower Europe festivals, Rene Janssen. Sonic Debris' sound itself reminded me a great deal of Dream Theater, even down to vocalist Rune Sørheim sounding more than a little bit like James LaBrie. But my first thoughts upon hearing this album were of Soundgarden, but there other bands that come to mind not all in the prog metal genre.

While this is a good debut, it is not a terrific debut. For the most part, I find something lacking, though I can't put my finger on it. However, the true highlight of this album comes at the beginning, in the middle and at the end - the keyboard playing of Jan P Ringvold. The melancholy piano that closes out "My Aching Pain" is delicate and nimble - simply beautiful. It is also Ringvold who opens the album, and provides the intro to one of the better tracks on this album, "Velvet Thorns."

If the last few minutes of "My Aching Pain" are beautiful, the track itself is great, with shimmering guitar lines from Tommy Nilsen, whose style occasionally reminds me of Karl Groom (in his Shadowland guise) and understated, yearning vocals from Sørheim. We get more understatement in "Bustale," another highlight of the album, which also has a touch of U2 about it. "Virtual Steps" moves closer to "neo-prog," and "Dead Man," brings us closer to prog/power metal (a la Shadowland). For those who have found the previous descriptions a little light for a metal band, there is "Kiss & Kill," which opens the album, "New Horizon," and "New Angel."

The track that I was most impressed with overall was the title track, "Velvet Thorns." As I mentioned, this opens with a beautiful keyboard intro from Ringvold, and then you are enveloped in an edgy and tense arrangement. What kind of tension? I think sexual tension when you consider lines like "I hear you laugh and cry / I touched your smiling eyes/But still we can't..." What ever the true distancing element is, they have captured that tension perfectly in both the tone and arrangement. Though, out of context, that middle phrase seems strange. In context, you get it.

This is a very good debut, and I can see this band only getting better and more focused. Janssen first introduced Sonic Debris to the prog/power metal audience with 2000's ProgPower festival. He must have been impressed enough to launch his label with them. Good stuff.

Oh, and a word about the booklet: beautiful. The man responsible for it is Mattias Noren, at

Kiss And Kill (5:07) / Snowflake (5:30) / Dead Man (5:13) / Velvet Thorns (4:49) / Virtual Steps (3:17) / Bustale (4:12) / New Horizon (3:35) / New Angel (3:25) / New Narrow Needle Groove (3:44) / My Aching Pain (7:19)

Rune Sørheim - vocals
Tommy Nilsen - guitars
Per Morten Bergseth - drums
Knut Bergaust - bass
Jan Peter Ringvold - keyboards

Beside Me (demo)
Blindfold (demo)
Brave New World (1999) (demo)
Velvet Thorns (2000)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NO

Added: February 1st 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 557
Language: english


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