"The New Eve"

By Dr. Abner Mality

France's prog-metal upstarts Spheric Universe Experience return with their fourth album. I've liked what I've heard from these guys previously...they have all the instrumental talent in the world and there's something very earnest about the way they combine heavy down-tuned riffs with interesting keyboard melodies. There has always been a complaint that some of their material is a bit too "nu-metal" for the prog rock tag. I've never felt that way before, but with "The New Eve", I have to admit some cracks are starting to show in the SUE approach.

"The New Eve" retains their trademark mixture of heavy crunch riffs and Dream Theater-type melodies. But now there are some techno elements that find their way into cuts like "Never Heal" and the title track. The keyboard work of Fred Colombo is still outstanding...this guy can play anything from scorching synth solos to drifting ambience to piano to those techno beats. I just feel there's too much of a commercial nu-metal feel to songs like "The Day I Died" and "Never Heal". SUE has also been known for their ballads, but with "Angel", the result comes across as pretty insipid and cliched from start to finish. Only Colombo's cool synth effects at the beginning and end have any interest.

One definite improvement in the band are the vocals of  Frank Garcia. His work on "The New Eve" is more energetic and varied than on past SUE discs. He sings with a lot more fire and passion this time around and it's a big step up. The album does boast some pretty strong tracks like the opening "Shut Up!" as well as the aggressive "Escape" and "Self Abuse". But I just don't get the same feeling from this album that I got from previous records "Unreal" and "Anima".

"The New Eve" has its moments but there's no way it surpasses past Spheric Universe material.