Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter (2014)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
Now and again, the metal scene produces a band that is almost completely without compare. Trondheim, Norway’s Triosphere has grown into just such an act over the past eight years. Despite a slow release schedule, lack of international shows (until this year), and hailing from a nation without a well-realized heavy/power metal scene, the band has persevered with The Heart Of The Matter, its third album, and second on hard-hitting power metal label AFM Records.
In addition to boasting one of the finest female singers in metal, Triosphere continues to grow and mature in every important way. In fact, I’ll get the criticism out of the way up front: the only reservations I have with this album whatsoever are tempo (pacing on some songs is extremely similar) and that there are clear standouts (translation: there are a few “lesser” tracks). Otherwise, The Heart Of The Matter is in every way a worthy, enhanced successor to 2010’s already rewarding The Road Less Travelled.
Not power metal in the strictest sense, Triosphere has instead based its winning formula on a driving, mid-tempo concoction heavy on riffing, vocal melody, and smart harmonic textures. The foursome steps up its game on The Heart Of The Matter with a strong flurry of tracks sure to satisfy all but the most averse listeners. “My Fortress”, “Steal Away The Light”, and “The Sentinel” offer back-to-back-to-back doses of firmly delivered heft, balancing Ida Haukland’s aggressive tone with tasteful melodicism and excellent, thought-provoking lyricism. This lady’s voice is always on the tip of my tongue to mention when I’m talking about great singers in power metal, but I’ve never actually written about it before, so here goes nothing.
Ida is something special, and all Triosphere fans know this. While her delivery is powerful and masculine, it is decidedly her own. I prefer her substantially to other vocalists of her type (like Leather Leone or Veronica Freeman of Benedictum) because of her passion, greater sound palate, and careful enunciation. Ballsy female vocals have never sounded so good, and let’s not forget that she’s also playing bass! I wont’ detract from the rest of this talented band, however, since the guitar battery, manned by Tor Byberg on rhythm and Marius Bergeson on lead, has never sounded so good. These two gents are as emotive and as evocative of headbanging as ever, and Triosphere’s riffing is ever a serious highlight when sitting down to one of the band’s albums.
Midway through, Triosphere starts getting a little bit tender. “Departure” is an absolutely beautiful song with an excruciatingly memorable chorus. Switching things around on “The Heart’s Dominion”, the band goes for a dramatic approach and a bombastic chorus that would make the likes of Orden Ogan proud. In fact, it’s really only during the album’s final few tracks – most pointedly “Remedy” and “Virgin Ground”, and to a lesser extent, “The Sphere” and “Storyteller”, that I feel that the music gets less distinct and memorable as compared to some of the album’s best offerings. This is a personal call on my part, but these songs are the only bar holding me back from embarrassing eye-rolling, mouth-foaming, complete fanboying over this album. Instead, I will *merely* state that The Heart Of The Matter is very damn good.
Absolutely necessary for fans of the band’s old work, those who enjoy riffy, melodious heavy/power metal, and any of the more adventurous stranges from the female-fronted metal pack that want to hear a lady that can deliver a sonic dropkick to any other singer around. The Heart Of The Matter is a top shelf highlight for the year 2014, and a wonderful followup for a superb band that is evolving into a real genre frontrunner.
4.25 // 5