Is there a special atmosphere for prog metal in Nice, France? Lord of Mushrooms signed “7 Deadly Songs” in 2005, one of my favourite records of all time of this genre. Spheric Universe Experience comes also from the Baie des Anges town. I should perhaps give a try to the south-east of France - I have never been there...
Besides Nice, the progressive metal and two top class singers, there is not a lot in common between SUE’s and LoM’s music.
But let’s concentrate on “Unreal”. Fresh and mature at the same time, this third album has its influences, taken for example from a two words’ and twelve letters’ band... No, I did not say the name! These musicians have also their own manifold ideas which give “Unreal” its own personality. Dynamic, that is the best word I can find, with guys who all pull together as a team (...and have a cigar?), supported by a powerful production.
The wave takes you from the start with “White Willow”, not so original but very effective. The edit length “Down Memory Lane” can be a “get in your face” catchy single. “Lakeside Park” is a fine illustration of this dynamic I am referring to. “3rd Type” has the ingredients a prog’ metal fan requires: just listen to it. “Near Death Experience” gives a nice piano break, introducing “Lost Ghost” and its melodic mid-tempo until the rhythm guitar strikes back. Keyboardist Fred Colombo brings a lot of smart touch, like on “Dragged”, a song with a great construction, magnified by Franck Garcia’s performance. The singer has a gift, but he worked a lot, no doubt about it. “O.B.E.”: here comes the jazz-prog side of “Unreal”. I just love it and I feel this instrumental could have been developed beyond its too short four minutes: frustration goes sometimes with pleasure... The long piece comes just after, with the closing song “Tomorrow”, strong and sensitive but not melo.
You will find many variations and everything you need on this excellent record. The next step could be a masterpiece if they follow their ascendant path, no less.