31 January 2015

Triosphere - The Heart Of The Matter


Norway, like its Nordic neighbours isn't short of metal acts although the majority I fear won't roll off the tongue of the general public. I think it was about September 2014 when I first came across this act, a new album out, and of course, there's always room in my heart for prog metal. However, album number three for this quartet was unfortunately beset by a few delays until just before Christmas which I'll delve into a little later. Back then, I felt sick that maybe Triosphere had missed out on an opportunity for me to review it and put it in contention for last year's shortlist, assuming it was good enough. Still, I have a week to listen to this and evaluate.


Ten years together isn't a long time for a metal band, fronted by bassist Ida Haukland (pronounced as Ee-da), but with a clutch of albums to their name now and seemingly a real talented act a little different from what we're used to hearing. I also understand when I Google'd Miss Haukland, she was alternating her love of metal with real estate. If this is really the case she should give up her day job, because on first listen to The Heart Of The Matter, this is showing so much promise, this may not be only of the best albums I've listened to this year, it's probably one of the best I've heard of all time. Just one personal change from their original lineup, and that's drummer Ørjan Aare Jørgensen who decided to leave when his recording parts were completed. Consequently Triosphere had to hire a couple of sessionists to tie the loose ends hence the late launch.


The writing credits go to just two musicians, Ida Haukland is the lyricist and the instrumentation is inked by rhythm/lead guitarist Marius Bergmann (well I say, but actually he shares both duties with Tor Ole Byberg) and plenty of influences from their peers to behold. Vox wise, Ida certainly leaves me with the impression that she's honing it on Janis Joplin, Bruce Dickinson and Ann Wilson and if you're looking for perhaps old skool metal that doesn't feel dated, you could do much worse. First track offered to us is My Fortress, certainly Metallica influenced but this feels fourfold more refined, and well written. The string work calm before the thrash storm  is an ideal curtain raiser as well as during the brief respite before Steal Away The Light continues. I'm enjoying the Iron Maiden-esque dual layering guitar work, it feels like a working progress taken to another step.

The Sentinel starts off on the same footing with the same beat and rhythm, same shredwork. Is it a little too similar to the previous song? Thankfully no more than a brief moment as Sentinel starts getting more individualist with chunky chorus and still pacey timing, so I'm happy, as long as you're happy too. Fourth track is Breathless which is getting a little more business like, it follows the same order as its predecessors, or so I thought, as midway the instrumental breaks gets a lighter air and more focused. Progressive is the word in the next tune Departure, it is very Rush melody laden, and of course, Rush is one of the finest rock acts you'll ever find. However, there are a few electronic snippets thrown into the mix which is a good omen that this won't age too badly at all.

So far, it's been a little bit of NWOBHM, a little US thrash and a lot of prog metal, so now, symphonic Metro Voice type choruses have a hand in The Heart's Dominion, but I am really sold on the shredding midway through, Heart Of The Matter is growing in stature minute by minute. Now onto As I Call, a little different and a little less boombastic, the verses are deliberately spartan, but with no less substance, and finally some harmonies as they have been just about the only thing missing. Now halfway through The Heart Of The Matter, and initially Relentless seems ironic until about twenty seconds in and a big Oh My God and a few superlatives thrown in for good measure! For me it's Speed metal pornography and what might appear to be a twenty one gun salute suddenly Triosphere bring along a Challenger Tank for more impact. Best track so far? It's a firm runner, but hopefully the remaining four songs can hold their own.

The Sphere is no less pacey if a little more basic in the layering, still I'm finding it very entertaining. As I'd want from old skool metal, guitar leads governed, but I'm not going to bother allocating the credits as both guitarists I mentioned earlier share rhythm and leads. A different beat now is on Remedy, it's alternating between Heart (one of Ida's possible influences) and the familiar pace I'm warming to. However, it all tails off towards the end with a brief solo from guest pianist Espen Godø. Eleventh track is Storyteller, a straightforward narrative and more of a formality for me. Actually, I should delete that last sentence as the instrumentals completely change and keep the threat of monotony in check. Don't expect the same firecrackers on the final track Virgin Ground, an acoustical three minute piece, low key perhaps but no less evocative


So, was Heart Of The Matter worth the two month delay? I feel more a little relieved when I say yes, and although being a tad retro, the important thing I find in an album is getting full audio enjoyment from it. There's only so much the bands you already know and love can do to please the ear that on occasion you want to break a little new ground and search a little further afield and Triosphere's certainly achieved that from my own perspective. Heart Of The Matter has been such a genuine revelation, for me it has been metal Valhalla. Serious contender for Album Of The Year in my opinion so hopefully I can take a chance to listen to the rest of their discography shortly. For now, it's time for me to write other blogs, review other albums, and maybe stick this on my Christmas wishlist along the way.


9.5 out of ten. Almost perfect...almost.

Best Track : Relentless

Buy Heart Of The Matter here on Amazon
Listen to the album here on Spotify
Deezer listeners can alternatively click on this link
Official Triosphere Facebook page here
Official Triosphere Website here

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