Aspera - Ripples
Not usually known for its burgeoning prog scene, Norway has given birth to this young band of 20-somethings who go by the name of Aspera. Taking the template that Dream Theater laid down god knows how long ago, these guys have come to show the oldies that they can do prog just as well. While what is contained on Ripples may not be the most original of music, this is well executed and full of the fluid virtuosity that you'd expect from the best records of this kind. Soaring yet aggressive vocals, symphonic guitar work and plenty of cheesy keyboard sounds are what make up this album, but it’s actually really quite enjoyable. Tracks like ‘Do I Dare’ and ‘Between Black and White’ take intricate guitar lines and solid drumming and couple them most importantly with good songs. These young guys have the chops, they just need to make something that can elevate them above mere talented copycats.