There is nothing fancy, exaggerated or over the top about ‘Hillsphere’s’ debut album which is an eight track collection of nicely considered well forged progressive rock tunes that are tinged with a distinctly metal edged embellishment. The main protagonist so far as compositional credits are concerned is ‘Elias Mayer’ on keyboards and guitar. He has fashioned here a comprehensive cross section of highly charged energetic guitar sequences interposed with delicate passages of a more somber musical texture that are all absorbed into the overall proceedings. Ultimately what has been created here are a series of interesting atmospheric musical images that comprise generous sprinklings of intense piano layered with delightful keyboard runs fusing the music solidly together. There are many highlights to enjoy particularly some stunning arrangements of dual lead guitar with some succulent accompanying bass lines and powerful energetic drumming.
In direct opposition to the higher energetic metal aspect of the compositions are oodles of more peaceful atmospheric and tuneful passages that carry forth some delightful vocal arrangements together with subtle accompanying harmonies that are extremely pleasant to absorb and listen to. Particularly good is how the initial more calmer vocal sections are slowly transformed and gradually built up to form more aggressive assemblies of powerful heavy guitar riffing but administered in a totally ordered fashion. Therefore ‘controlled’ is definitely the operative word because no matter how much the music drifts off towards a heavier metal inclined direction the carefully coordinated aspects of the musical arrangements progressively shift the focus back over to a more melodic and tuneful footing with more ingenious infill piano sequences coming to the fore.
It is indeed a good album, the collective instrumentation and vocals delivered with much skill and passion. With subsequent plays you gain a better understanding of the excellent compositional arrangements which embody a definite atmospheric styling. It is apparently a concept album but I must admit that the subject matter about ‘growing up’ didn’t really gel with me. However, it is an album that I will certainly return to and one where I will further investigate the lyrical meaning of the vocals, not that this is an important as the music alone is sufficient to warrant the purchase of this album.
Summary: Modern styled progressive with a slight but not over the top metal flavoring. Totally interesting and musically competent,
Artwork: Mine is a basic promo cover, nice cover painting
Tim Beimer (Vocals)
Elias Mayer (Guitar, Keys, Vocals)
Robin Waij (Guitar)
Kevin van der Reijnst (Bass)
Wouter Macare (Drums)
2. The Breeding of Us
4. Our Physical Way of Speaking
6. Ghost of You
7. Mind at Rest
FROM THE INTERNET :Hillsphere is a collective initiated by Elias Mayer as a form of musical and personal expression. Musically the band draws from a wide spectrum often seen as a combination of Progressive Rock and Metal with a lot of emphasis on the emotional and atmospheric aspects.
With the release of their single ‘Clairvoyance’ in 2015 the band received excellent reviews and got to share the stage with artists like Pain of Salvation, Soul Secret and Vanden Plas. Currently the band is working on their forthcoming album 'Florescence'. The single 'Our Physical Way Of Speaking' released this september. An official release date for 'Florescence' will follow soon.