Album: Out Of The Void
Label: Layered Reality Productions
Review: Rodrigo 'Rroio' Carvalho
Thoughts: Sense Vs Sanity is a one-man project created by Dutch guitarist Sander Stegeman as a second chapter to Into the Void, the EP released by his earlier band Posthuman (that disbanded soon after their debut full length Rise From Ruins was released, back in 2010). As a musical experiment to deal with his own issues, Stegeman built on its first effort a new concept, dealing with a whole new and metalinguistic concept – as far as we can understand (and it can be subjective to each and every one who listens to the album) – of deconstruction and rebuild.
Released by Layered Reality Productions on March 2013, Out Of The Void (2013) was basically recorded fully by Stegeman himself, with a little help from some guests that took care of important details on the songs, from lyrics to orchestral arrangements.
When the first notes and quotes in ‘A Spirit Dissolved’ reach our ears, it’s not a hard exercise to close the eyes and get in contact with the music itself and its feeling of levitating, ascending to a higher plane (or dimension, whatever you want) that is ‘Out Of The Void’. The title track transits between typical modern Melodic Death Metal riffs and some symphonic and acoustic Prog interventions, giving a unique touch in its course. Besides that, Mind:Soul’s Tom de Wit and The Unguided’s Richard Sjunnesson add their voices and make everything even more interesting.
Not that Stegeman’s own vocals aren’t good, of course. By the way, ‘Disposable’ proves how he can sing harsh and clean even if his voice is not exactly the standard for Melodeath nor Prog metal. But hey, who are not tired of the same “Anders-Fridén-like-desperate-screams” and “too-clean -Russel-Allenish-high-tones”? Combine that with a wise sense of melody and vocal layers and the results are great over the synth thrashy there. The same thing can be said about ‘Trust’ and ‘Never Enough’, where the blend of Melodic Death and Thrash outweigh their heaviest kind of European Progressive Metal.
‘Rekindled Fire’, on the other hand, goes through an American prog and once more gets nice symphonic interventions on its fast and amazingly aggressive riffs, just like ‘Taking The Reign’ and its feeling almost as epic as an Amon Amarth choir of battle. Also, ‘The Path’ continues its escalation to a more straight death patterns mixed with the most melodic of power metal, reminding Suidakra in its less folk moments.
Not so different, ‘Another Me’ maintains the same amalgam of contrasting elements that works on the rest of the album, but still tries to insert some electronic and modern stuff through its infinite rhythm sections that lead to the instrumental ‘A Spirit Regenerated’, that ends this journey as if you’re breaking through the atmosphere and coming back to your body after your mind travelled to galaxies far away inside yourself. Last but not least, an acoustic version of ‘Another Me’ comes next as a bonus, and it’s like a beautiful version of one of album’s highlights (wisely pushed to the end, by the way) to effectively close the void.
Sense Vs Sanity brings on its debut album a creative sense of connecting different ideas that match very well together, even if we considered how monotonous and repetitive Prog Metal and Melodeath are recently (with a few exceptions), and Out Of The Void (2013) seems almost equilibrated when we talk about the band putting all the pieces of influence together. I say “almost” because after a few times we still have this annoying sensation that the band is shooting widely and everywhere: it mostly hits the target, but misses some – nearly, but misses.
However, it’s absolutely understandable, mainly if the project will have new chapters (something we hope so): this diversity is necessary to the journey that is the album concept, and the combination of personal lyrics with its own musical formula of Symphonic Death and Thrash Metal with progressive and melodic aura makes Out Of The Void (2013) an interesting experience. Not only musical. And maybe not the kind you forget soon.
The band was included in our Podcast #33 and you can listen the song 'Disposable' HERE.