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Spheric Universe Experience - 'Live In London 2016' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/af/df/b0/spheric-universe-experience-live-in-london-2016-14-1517257075.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 29, 2018    
 
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Never quite rises far enough above shortcomings of its own.

With three studio albums under their belt, French Progressive Rock outfit Spheric Universe Experience serve up 'Live In London 2016'. With a running time of only thirty-seven minutes, we're almost in mini-album territory, the brevity of this performance due to the band not being the headline act when this performance was recorded; that accolade held by Threshold. In itself that makes this release rather unusual, the band choosing not to record themselves in front of a partisan audience, something that makes the crowd reaction to the five tracks included here more than a little muted. Add in that no one saw fit to edit down some of the on-stage chatter and you're left listening to singer Franck Garcia thanking the headliners, before showing his gratitude to someone who may or may not be in the audience.

With English obviously not the band's first language, we're also treated to classic stage raps such as "Alright London, are you guys okay?"... cue muffled, "yeah I suppose so, thanks for asking"... followed by "We're... okay as well...". It's hardly riveting stuff and at the risk of sounding unkind, all a little amateur. Considering this album is released through the usually excellent Nightmare Records, it's also a little disappointing.

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Sonically the band may be a SUE, but don't expect them to boldly go where no one has gone before, safe influence markers such as Dream Theater, Symphony X and Threshold (natch) firmly hammered into the ground. In fairness, if that's your bag and you haven't experienced this lot before, you've been missing out; 'The New Eve' a sublime balance between the riff heavy Threshold attack and more complex DT approach, while 'In This Place' ups the intensity quite significantly to prove that when the mood takes them, these Frenchmen can turn their focus on the Metal with quite devastating effect. However, with Garcia James LaBrie-alike, it's hard to suggest that they're really doing anything new or different.

If you saw Spheric Universe Experience opening for your favourite band on tour, you'd be more than satisfied. As an album however, 'Live In London 2016' never quite rises far enough above shortcomings of its own making to entice you to investigate further.

Steven Reid

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