In my opinion, New Jersey-based Suspyre is one of the most underrated bands in prog rock and metal today. Their A Great Divide (2007) and When Time Fades (2009) albums can easily hold their own against any recent album by Dream Theater and Symphony X. The band worked tirelessly on the their latest inception, simply entitled “Suspyre”. Let’s see whether their hard work pays off…
The album starts with “Chaser”, a song heavily inspired by the later Symphony X and with singer Clay Barton employing a very convincing Russell Allen type snarl. It’s on “Tranquility And Stress” and “Still Bending The Violet” where Suspyre really comes into their own. Both songs display a wealth of ideas Dream Theater can only dream off, ranging from odd time signatures to jazzy lounge parts, but all based on a solid metal basis. “Cancun” is really the odd one out on the album. It’s an acoustic track with lots of exotic percussion. At first it doesn’t seem to fit the record at all, bit after a couple of sessions it started to grow on me.
“The Fire Dancer” and “The Cycle” are once again reminiscent to Symphony X, but this time to their “The Divine Wings Of Tragedy” and “The New Mythology Suite” albums, but Suspyre adds a nice jazz/fusion spin to it. The grand finale comes in the form of “The Whisper” and “The Man Made Out Of Stone”. Both tracks are respectively over nice and twelve minutes long and they both are filled to the brim of what Suspyre has to offer musically. Exotic percussion, jazzy time changes, massive choruses, memorable guitar riffs and solos and Clay Barton once showcasing his mighty pipes.
There’s one thing that really bothers me though. The Suspyre guys (and girl) are superb musicians in their own right and they really have a knack for writing adventurous and engaging, so why do they pay so much homage to Symphony X and Dream Theater? Why not focus on developing a sound that the band can really call their own? The exotic flourishes here and there are a good start, but there’s a lot to be won in that regard.
Despite the obvious Symphony X and Dream Theater influences Suspyre managed to come with a fresh and inspired album with lots of exotic flourished to it. I prefer the overall consistency and darker mood of the previous record, but nonetheless “Suspyre” is still very much worth the effort when you’re in the mood for evocative high end progressive metal.