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4.21 | 14 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2007


1. Sceptic (6:31)
2. Being (2:31)
3. The Inner Quest (5:37)
4. Neptune's Revenge (6:59)
5. Stormy Dome (1:32)
6. World of Madness (7:06)
7. End of Trauma (9:28)
8. Heal My Pain (7:06)
9. Questions (3:49)
10. The Key (10:25)
11. Black Materia (6:38)

Total Time: 67:42


- Franck Garcia / Vocals, Additional Keyboards
- Vince Benaim / Guitars
- John Drai / Bass
- Fred Colombo / Keyboards, English Spoken Word (#2 & #3)
- Nicolas "Ranko" Muller / Drums

Guest/Session Musicians:

- Marjorie Bernard / Vocals (#5)
- Ludovic Phiriet-Arcaleni / Italian Spoken Word (#4)
- Aurelia Borg / Japanese Spoken Word (#8)
- Yo Ishikawa / Japanese Spoken Word (#8)
- Carmen Lopez / Spanish Spoken Word (#6)

About this release

Released by Sensory Records, March 26th, 2007.

Thanks to colt, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Anima (2007) is the second full-length album by French progressive metal act Spheric Universe Experience (herein S.U.E. for short). I first discovered this band through their more recent fourth album The New Eve (2012), which I think is a pretty excellent but rather modern sounding progressive metal album; one which may not appeal so much to the more traditional progressive metal fan.

Their second album Anima isn't totally traditional and by the book either, but will no doubt find more appeal to fans of acts like Dream Theater or Symphony X, than The New Eve. What we have here is actually what you could call a progressive power metal record, but that almost does the music on Anima a disservice as progressive power metal sort of implies that, above all else, it's a power metal album being dealt with. And that isn't really the case with Anima, which wears it's classic progressive metal influences on its sleeves and you could say turbo charged them with power metal style speed. The level of technical guitar playing is pretty damn high throughout Anima and I think that it's justified to say that S.U.E. deliver some of the best riffs in progressive metal and certainly they do a lot more with their music than most power metal acts. It's a progressive power metal record that's for certain, but a different kind to those produced by acts like Pyramaze, Vandroya, or even Wuthering Heights.

Anima is quite a long album at just shy of sixty-eight minutes, but it never wastes a second of that time and is quite easy to take in a single listen. The production shows off all the details which is perfect for the sort of music that S.U.E. are playing here while the vocals by Franck Garcia are excellent too. I'm especially fond of the opening trio of tracks Sceptic, Being, and The Inner Quest. Being isn't really much more than an interlude, but the three compositions work so well together to show off S.U.E's progressive power metal style that they're made extra memorable for it. But the band keep up the pace for most of the album, only very occasionally dropping that power metal speed that propels the music along. I'm not sure I can name a more energetic sounding progressive metal release than this, and it's certainly one of if not the best progressive metal release I've heard from the last ten years and without a doubt my album of the year for 2007, despite many of my favourite artists releasing some of their best works that year as well (such as Anubis Gate, Rebellion, Helloween and Epica). Five Stars, but damn I'd give Anima six if I could.

Members reviews

Interpreters & Imitators

Let me start straight away with this. If you want to know what this sounds like, the let me quote from the promo press accompanying the CD: ".clearly inspired by bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X and proud of it".

This French band plays a dynamic and high energy Dream Theatre styled metal, very well exectued, technical and focused. Sounds good? Well, I find this to be uninspired, or rather too much inspired by their heroes - DT and Symphony X. It seems we heard it before and while this is not bad (but it is boring at times) it's just not thrilling to me to listen to this. Had they brought in some of their own personalities into it, or just some more originality into it, this would have been more interesting, more captivating. Moreover, I find the vocals to be very irritating; high pitched and more screaming than singing they do a disservice to the music, making the songs less attractive (they remind me somewhat of Nuclear Assault's vocalist John Connelly, only his voice fits the thrash metal they played). The vocals manage to flatten out the sound, that should have been otherwise changing and of high volume. If I were to disregard the similarity to DT, then songs like "The Inner Guest" and "Neptune's Revenge", "Heal My Pain" and parts of "End Of Trauma" would be marked as a highlight, being fast, technical, and complex in the interval they introduce in the middle of it (in the first) and the nice intro (in the second). However, the other songs are not that interesting, though like I said, well executed and with high energy. But they go by and I don't have that "ear catcher" effect with them. There are some more interesting pieces in the album, such as the song "The Key" in which they seem to put in more than what they did with all previous songs and it is more varied than the others as well. While it does have the DT style as well (and even a part in which they imitate the ragtime solo from "The Dance Of Eternity" from "Scenes From A Memory Part II"), it is actually the best track in the album and it does have a little more to it than just their beloved influences, and more of their own. The band joining as backing vocals is a blessed addition (as they mask the main vocals.). The spoken vocals in French were also a good choice, adding a mysterious edge to the music (I am half French, so I know what he's singing). If the album was more like this song, I would have liked it more. This is more of an "ear catcher" than all the rest of the album combined. The album is quite long, and so it sometimes seems to not end, especially when not liking a particular song or just being bored with it. The following track, Black Materia is another example of them playing something which shows more their sound as they interpret their influences, rather than simply imitating their influences. And this is why the album left me in the several first listens a bit baffled. Cause I remembered not like it through most of it and then after the last two tracks I was more sympathetic to it. And those two last tracks are "to blame". If they choose to go in that direction and develop from there, it would definitely bring them to being interpreters and not imitators. There's still work to do, as those two tracks are not that far away from the imitation side, but it's a move in the right direction.

Again, this is not a bad album; I am sure fans of DT and others of their ilk will like this album a lot (I too love several of DT's albums very much), and so I can safely recommend it to them. But then again, if you want DT sounding metal, why not stick to the original? But don't expect to find too many new ideas or a new take on this sort of music, as this is, as the band itself promotes itself, not the intention here. And this is my main problem with this; why not put in more of your own personality inside your music and stick to doing what your revered band is doing? Why not dare more and experiment or try new directions for your music to evolve, to develop and grow? I am not saying go avant-garde, but you don't need to be weird to be good or interesting. Simply develop your own sound, your special and particular type of playing and composing and those can have influences, everyone will have them by now, but the question is to what a degree. And the "influence factor" is too high for me in this one; not to mention that I find it to not be as good as their influencing bands and other flaws that I found here.

As for others who dislike DT and this sort of metal, keep away. As for myself, as my taste is quite varied and I like a wide variety of it, from the most quiet, through the noisiest to the most insane, I can say I do like this sort of metal, but this particular album is simply not interesting, a repetition of things already done and re-done and I have hard time to see where the band members own sound comes in. It has its moments, but nothing that gets my attention for too long, and the vocals are simply turning me off. I will probably not return to this album again.

For MMA rating purposes: This is a 2.5 rating for me. For DT fans, I'd say between 3 and 4 stars. For people who dislike DT and their ilk - 1-2 stars.

Ratings only

  • Alex
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • DippoMagoo
  • powermetal2000
  • theaterd
  • 666sharon666
  • Lostfloyd
  • aecht
  • Colt
  • spitf1r3
  • Sleeper
  • Zarahuztra

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