It’s been four long years since Norway’s Triosphere released The Road Less Travelled. In that time, the band has toured relentlessly promoting their unique brand of melodic progressive metal. Led by powerhouse vocalist/bassist Ida Haukland, the band is set to release their latest album The Heart of the Matter (their second for AFM Records). The album was mixed and mastered by one of the best producers in the metal genre, Jens Bogren (Opeth, Paradise Lost, Symphony X, Amon Amarth, Kreator) at Fascination Street studios, Sweden.
In 2013 the band announced that long time drummer Ørjan Aare Jørgensen was leaving the band. New drummer Kenneth Tårneby replaced Jørgensen although Jorgensen’s powerful drumming can still be heard on their latest effort. Fans of Samuel Arkan’s progressive/power metal project Epysode may recognize Haukland’s distinct vocals from their last album Fantasmagoria, where she performed several songs, most notably the spine-tingling title track with Tom S. Englund of Evergrey and Henning Basse (MaYan).
The album begins with My Fortress, featuring an old school Metallica-esque guitar riff (reminiscent of Blackened), and powerful speed metal drumming. Haukland’s smoky, raspy voice tears into the listeners soul with aggression and ferocity, and then the soaring melodious chorus transforms the song into a thing of beauty like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. Steal Away The Light begins with an onslaught of Iron Maiden-like harmony guitars laid over an intense heavy guitar rhythm. Haukland attacks the song with fury and passion building up to the chorus, which is infectious and addictive as hell. Guitarist Marius Silver Bergesen plays solos with feeling as well as the ability to shred.
The Sentinel is another fast paced metal anthem with a huge anthemic chorus that packs a tremendous punch. Haukland’s ability to convey aggression as well as emotion in her vocals is impressive to say the least and Bergesen shows his own considerable chops during the guitar solo section.
The album takes a slow turn on the melodic mid-tempo Breathless. Haukland’s vocals are simply stellar here with a chorus that builds in intensity and shows her impressive vocal range. The machine gun drumming starts off Departure, another melodic metal masterpiece. Triosphere shows off their symphonic influences on The Heart’s Dominion which has a bit of Epica style in the Gregorian-style chanting choruses. The next track, As I Call, features some impressive guitar work from Bergesen. From the intro solo to the classical style solo mid-song, Bergesen steals the show here. If ever a song was named appropriately, it would be Relentless. The song is like a runaway locomotive with rapid-fire drumming and chugging guitar rhythms with Haukland leading the charge with her masterful vocals.
The rhythmic drumming of The Sphere has lots of odd time signatures and twists and turns to keep the prog metal fans happy while the chorus has an epic vocal hook while Bergesen’s guitar solo expertly plays on the songs main melody line. Remedy has a more hard rock feel and tempo with great crossover appeal for the mainstream metal fans. The main riff of Storyteller has a Megadeth Symphony of Destruction-like feel with a crushing guitar rhythm and Haukland’s vocal performance is sublime. The albums final track Virgin Ground is a soft and understated song that treads into power ballad territory with Haukland showing her impressive vocal command when it comes to a softer approach, a short but sweet way to end the album.
The Heart of the Matter is leaps and bounds ahead of Triosphere’s The Road Less Travelled. The four years of work they put into this album shows and you can expect the band to reap the rewards as this album will make the top of many reviewers lists as top metal album of 2014.