ASPERA - Ripples

Aspera - Ripples

10 songs
55:04 minutes
***** **
InsideOut

Bandpage

Can progressive metal still be considered progressive when a band is so strongly focused on its heroes that their music eventually only sounds like a mix of the forefathers? Aspera is a truly young band from Norway. The five members were still teenagers when they record their debut Ripples, and considering their tender age, one can’t but pay respect.

The nearly one hour long album starts with a futuristic intro, but what follows is more conventional. The guys really know the tricks of the trade, and especially the frequent guitar and keyboard duels are mind-dazzling. The bass guitar somewhat drowns in the mix, robbing the music of some important lower frequencies. The vocalist may have done a good job, but his voice still lacks the edge of a more seasoned artist, giving the songs an overall too polished feeling. The songwriting is ok, if not outstanding. The songs often surprise with impressive skills, but even after repeated listening, you won’t really remember the melodies.

All of this doesn’t sound too positive, but let’s face it: many prog metal bands with more experience are not necessarily better. I felt mostly reminded of Dream Theater and Pain Of Salvation, although fellow Norwegians Pagan’s Mind also have left their traces. Aspera are only at the very start of their career, and if they manage to break loose from their still overly mighty heroes, they will have a bright future ahead. Ripples may not be an outstanding album, but it is a more than decent debut that might receive its fair share of criticism, yet it would be unfair to be too harsh for now. I am already curious about what we can expect from this promising newcomer in the near future.

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