Released: 2007, Face Front Records
Being bombarded with bands and CDs to cover is a mixed blessing. I know, it's like the fastest guitar player in the world wishing he could play faster and with four hands instead of two...or some such nonsense. But the very minor complaint is that it leaves you with less time to dig up your own bands. That makes Norway's Triosphere one in, let's say, about 100. A couple of years back I heard the magical vocals of Ida Haukland with her then band, Cat Eye. With vocals reminiscent of a younger and rawer Lee Aaron crossed with Ronnie James Dio, it was easy to remember the band. After hearing nothing new from Cat Eye for a while, I went looking for information and found she had moved on from that band to the brand new band Triosphere. With Triosphere's debut album, ONWARDS, the music style is not so blatantly classic 80's metal, but the unmistakable brilliance of Ida's vocals again shines through and carries the band miles high above the multitudes of new comers. The other surprise is that former Griffin (another tragically under-rated band from Norway) guitarist, Marcus Silver is also in the band...and for anyone who's heard him before, he's no slouch on the guitar that's for sure!
Triosphere's debut, ONWARDS was recorded in June 2006 at TopRoom Studio, mixing was done at Studio Fredman. The album was first released in Norway in October 2006, then in February 2007 throughout the rest of Europe. It will thankfully receive distribution in North America through Candlelight Records during spring 2007. The best way to describe Triosphere is by calling them 'heavy metal'. They do not sound dated and the songs offer a mix of many styles from classic metal, power metal, and even elements of thrash and prog metal can be heard. The album opens with the intro "Onwards Part I" then "Onrwards Part II" follows and offers one of the heaviest tracks of the CD. The short spoken section of "At my signal, unleash hell", taken from the glorious movie The Gladiator, was a nice touch as hell is unleashed with "Onwards Part II". There are other movie references on the album, the other cool one is from Michael Crichton's Sphere. "Onwards Part II" has elements of thrash with some of the riffing and drumming. However, it's too melodic to be considered just thrash. The guitar solo in this one absolutely rips. Marcus Silver is a fine lead guitarist who throughout this album does some great shredding that is also melodic and contains tasty melodies. "Trinity", at the 3min mark, has some impressive Fear Factory machine gun riffing/snare work before the lead guitar cuts in blowing any thoughts of Fear Factory way out the window. "Lament" starts out with a very 80's sounding Dokken-esque riff while the next track "Spitfire" starts with a very busy thrash riff that would never fit into the Dokken universe at all. Another hint of Dokken is with the intro to the killer song "The Silver Lining" before the song cuts into a more speedy power metal feel. A speedy "We Rock" Dio feel is recalled for the opening of one of the album's best tracks, "Gunnin' For Glory". This one and "Sunriser" are two of my favorites, having very powerful and memorable choruses. The harmonized guitar part at 1:40 into "Sunriser" sounds awesome. It's a part of the riff as in it plays off of the riff, and it sounds very cool. The interlude at 3:20 into the song is perhaps the mellowest moment on the CD without sounding 'gay' at all! Another song that has slight melodic thrash tendencies is "Twilight" with intro riffing recalling mid-era Meagadeth at moments. Again it's the chorus that really lifts the song to the next level. The intro to "Onwards Part III" again sounds rather thrashy and technical. That feel doesn't last though, as the band never really does a full on pedal-down thrasher...too bad, because 1-2 songs like tha ton here could of kicksed ass. On the flip-side, they never really slow things down and let Ida sing what you'd calla typical feminine ballad. Her vocals could carry it too since there are parts where she sings clear and without any harshness. For example, right in the song "Onwards Part III" there are several vocal lines ("Half ways to neverland..") where she doesn't sound so aggressive.
If you are a fan of non-typical power metal that crosses into other territories such as thrash, prog, and straight up heavy metal, then there's something for you here. A power metal take on Dio meets Dokken with hints of thrash and prog is one way to describe this. If you're thinking this might be like Edguy, it's not. Triosphere do not have a German power metal feel hardly at all, nor do they have the humor (cheese to some) that Edguy is known for. This is serious heavy metal and I just hope they stay together to release more awesome albums like this! The band will be touring in Europe April 2007 with Kotipelto and Chris Caffery. If you are in the vicinity, don't skip out on this opening band as they will probably steal the show.