Released: 2006, Lion Music
This new prog metal band from the Netherlands brings something fresh to the scene with their light but technical songs heavy on the keyboards, and a far away vocal sound. Aside from some similarities to Zero Hour’s crazy off-time song structures, Sphere of Souls are one in their own. It doesn’t take long for the expertly linked variety of riffs and licks to get you to play the songs again and again.
This especially applies to track one, "From the Ashes." The vocal melody in the verse is somewhat Middle Eastern sounding, and things are pretty straightforward until about halfway in when the guitar takes the limelight and pushes the prog to the max. Their first slow song, "Loss," is very much like a Zero Hour slow song; distant and soft. They fully re-inject the metal in "Until Death Do Us Part," where the guitar almost overpowers the vocals. Even though that far off effect on the singer’s voice is cool, when they crank up the heaviness, he can sometimes get pushed away. Slow tune number two, "Room 9," is pretty much a snooze, with nothing to offer other than a dragging melody, but don’t let that get you down. They come right back and rock the rest of the way.
Despite some sleepy slow songs and one that might qualify as nu-metalish ("Lies Inc."), Sphere of Souls is a band to keep an eye on. It’s nice to have a new prog band on the scene that’s not a Dream Theater or Spiral Architect clone. It’s nice to have a decent new band, period.