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Triosphere - "The Heart Of The Matter" (CD)

Triosphere - "The Heart Of The Matter" CD cover image

"The Heart Of The Matter" track listing:

1. My Fortress
2. Steal Away the Light
3. The Sentinel
4. Breathless
5. Departure
6. The Heart's Dominion
7. As I Call
8. Relentless
9. The Sphere
10. Remedy
11. Storyteller
12. Virgin Ground

Reviewed by on November 20, 2014

"Undoubtedly, great songwriting starts with a great riff or hook…and this album is a clinic in 'riffonomics.'"

It's a hard enough task to write a classic album when your band hits 10 years, but usually (as the story goes) it's relegated to a stunning debut or an earlier release revered by the metal faithful. For Norway's Triosphere, the story may have started the same - an incredible debut in 2006 with "Onwards," followed up by an equal to better sophomore effort in 2010 with "The Road Less Traveled" - however, as the second album prophesied, the band wouldn't get stuck on that usual road. "The Heart of Everything" is yet another prophecy, as Ida Haukland and company took the time to write the one that may just have it all.

It took just one listen to see the value the band places on songwriting and part of that takes time (hence the four year gap between albums). When that riff in “The Sentinel” hit my ears, there was an instant epiphany that “this is by far one of the best songs I’ve heard this year.” It is a song that has the rare quality of forcing the listener to move and I imagine in a live performance there might be bruises in the crowd (or worse). Undoubtedly, great songwriting starts with a great riff or hook…and this album is a clinic in “riffonomics.” “My Fortress” and “The Sphere” join the year’s strongest songs with copious catchiness, an aggressive approach, tremendous choruses and this author’s affinity with well-placed pauses! Guitar duo Marius Bergesen and T.O. Byberg are beasts on this record.

The subgenre geeks relish in seeking to call one of Norway’s finest “progressive metal.” While I am sure the titles don’t really bother the band at all – for the average listener this is highly misleading. Make no mistake about it, Triosphere has a blade dripping in traditional metal blood and while it may have “progressive highlights” strewn throughout, there is little doubt that at its core, a true metal heart beats. Ida is a singer that harkens back to the days when hordes of women weren’t trying to blend opera with metal, but sang with as much ferocity as male counterparts. Her deep beautiful tones have flashes of Leather Leone (Chastain), Ann Boylen (Hellion) and Lana Lane running through my mind. At the same time, she has an incredible ability to soar with pristine clarity (check out closing ballad “Virgin Ground”). With so much in the way of symphonic metal around these days, Ida Haukland’s “ode de past” is a breath of fresh air.

The band shows its symphonic side with “The Heart’s Dominion,” which when released as the first single had me thinking the album would be farther in that direction. As great as this song is, clearly there are tracks way better. However, this song cannot be denied its just due. It’s one of many on the album that makes this so special. Other standouts are the appropriately titled “Relentless” (the album’s speediest track) and “Storyteller” (another riff to add to the pile) and “Departure” (one of the strongest bridge/chorus on the release).

I don’t know how many times it will take to preach about good songwriting and hooks before people realize that most great albums are the ones that you remember. Falling victim to mediocrity in a world where tens of thousands of bands are demanding your attention is unacceptable. The only solution is for bands to come down off that high of being “in a band” and get down to writing songs that matter, because being in a band only means something when you have an accomplishment. As Triosphere will show you, songwriting is “The Heart of Everything.”

Highs: Epic songwriting and some of the best riffs of the year.

Lows: Triosphere doesn't break new ground for those seeking genre-less metal.

Bottom line: With fantastic songwriting and hooks a plenty, Triosphere gets right to "the heart of the matter."

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)