Thoughtsphere

Picture of Thoughtsphere

Grailkeeper's Gate

Thoughtsphere - Grailkeeper's Gate ©1997 Self-Released
1. This Cosm’s Wall
2. Clouds Beneath
3. Thoughtsphere
4. Pinions Ablaze
5. Sunrunner’s Ring
6. Corridors Of Light
7. My Fragile Soul
8. Prophecy

One of the biggest problems with self-produced discs is usually the poor quality of the production. This disc, however, successfully dodges that bullet. I don’t know why it took so long for Thoughtsphere to be signed by a label. Perhaps it is that their sound is so unusual?

This disc is the “official” Thoughtsphere demo disc. While 1998's Eden’s Shore is also self-produced, the band considers it their debut. Three of the songs here find themselves rereleased on 2000's Vague Horizons. The disc has a very “homemade” feel to it. It also has an “almost” or “close-but-no-cigar” sense to it. The band is not quite hitting on all cylinders.

The sound is hard to classify. It is very progressive stuff. There is a lot of atmosphere to it and some very unusual elements for progressive metal. It’s almost like early Emerson, Lake and Palmer meets metal. The sound is heavy and melodic with odd interludes. It swings from “typical” progressive metal to ambient, airy music to aggressively powerful stuff with harsh vocals and back. It is not your standard progressive metal fare. There are influences from Deep Purple, ELP, and Jethro Tull to be heard. On this disc the band seems to be fleshing out several ideas in an experimental way to see what will be the end result. It demonstrates the band’s ability to write more than one plain vanilla style of music. This is a very hard disc to locate, but it gives a very nice look at the beginning of Thoughsphere’s career. Unlike their latest release, this disc is all over the place with style and delivery. It really shows the versatility of the group. The next two discs show us a band that is pulling together and finally getting all the notes in the right places.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 05/2001

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Eden's Shore

Thoughtsphere - Eden's Shore ©1998 Self-Released
1. Eden’s Shore
2. Unthreading The Weave Of Stars
3. Seal Of Thorns
4. Grailkeeper’s Gate
5. Totenlicht
6. Reminiscing
7. Emerald Dusk
8. Ivory Moon
9. Winternacht
10. Candle To Remember

Thoughtsphere’s debut disc is this self-produced gem-in-the-rough. On this disc, the band works more into the epic sound that was present in bits and pieces on Grailkeeper’s Gate. The forceful play is toned down greatly making this CD fall into that gray zone between progressive metal and progressive rock. There are still plenty of heavy elements, but the overall sound has been toned down.

Keyboards play a bigger role on this disc than on the demo. There are also some fairly catchy choruses of a gothic nature set into the songs giving the disc a mildly “dark” tone that works fairly well. The band follows a Fates Warning sound in trying to reach for something big and epic on each song. For the most part the band succeeds in giving the songs a big feel. That said, it still has that “not quite sure” feel to it, as though the band is still trying to find themselves. The song writing is still topnotch, but the delivery is not as confident as it could be. What this CD does best is set the band up for their next CD which really blew me away. The nearest comparison I can find to Thoughtsphere is Everon. Like Everon, Thoughtsphere released a couple “not quite” albums before getting one that was dead on. If you are looking for a great disc, look at Vague Horizons. If you are interested in hearing the process of growth, then you’ll want to pick up Eden’s Shore as well.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 05/2001

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Vague Horizons

Thoughtsphere - Vague Horizons ©2000 B. Mind Records
1. Approach...
2. Like An Angel’s Choir
3. Ascending
4. Clouds Beneath
5. Edenquest
6. (Nothing But) A Vague Horizon
7. Pinions Ablaze
8. Shadowweaver’s Realm
9. Tragic Kingdom
10. A New Beginning
11. Thoughtsphere 2000
12. ...Withdrawal

I don’t know if it was signing with a “real” label...I don’t know if it is the two-year interval since their last release...I don’t know if it is simply growing and maturing a bit, but something finally clicked with Thoughtsphere. This album finally realizes the tremendous potential of the band.

After a pair of meandering “feeling our way” discs, Thoughtsphere follows through on their delivery. The opening pair of tracks show a band that has finally settled into a sound with which they are comfortable. The soft, almost melancholy sound of the violin on “Approach ...” is followed by as punchy, peppy, and catchy a song as you’ll want to hear. Big chorus, epic sound and focus, focus, focus! It is always a joy to hear a band come into their own. And what a sound it is. The band has finally found their comfort zone and they stay well within it on each track of this disc. The overall sound is a mix of good, solid progressive metal and high end AOR wiht good use of the interludes that were so dominant on Grailkeeper’s Gate. The songs don’t get away from the band and the band stays within its limits.

I enjoy the big, catchy choruses the band has adopted. They make the music much more accessible. I really like the saxaphone use on “Clouds Beneath” and how the theme repeats several times in the song. The album has the feel of a concept disc, and the similar themes in the song titles indicates that it is intentional.

Having followed Thoughtsphere through a start that could be described as rocky at best, this disc is a real treat. Fans of epic progressive metal will enjoy the consistency of the songs on this disc. The delivery is tight and unified. This disc shows haw far the band has come and the tremendous level of growth they’ve attained. Expect very good things from Thoughtsphere in the future.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 05/2001

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