Sonic Debris - Velvet thorns - 2000

"Is this the ultimate mix between mainstream rock and progressive metal?"


This is the first release on the new Dutch record label DVS Records. René Janssen (Progpower) founded the label, and its goal is to help young promising bands on their first steps into the hard music-business. Sonic Debris is a young band from Norway, which was founded in 1995 by Per Morten Bergseth, Knut Bergaust and Tommy Nilsen. Rune Sørheim joined them in 1996. The band was completed two years later by Jan Peter Ringvold. After 3 demo's this is their debut album which they hope, will reach some attention outside Norway.


Sonic Debris' line-up: Rune Sørheim - vocals, Tommy Nilsen - guitars, Per Morten Bergseth - drums, Knut Bergaust - bass and Jan Peter Ringvold - synth/hammond.


The album counts ten compositions, which exists of the 4 songs from their last demo, 4 older demos and two brand new songs. However all the old songs are re-arranged and re-recorded. The album opens with "Kiss & Kill" (5:07). A slow piano intro starts this up-tempo song which combines heavy progmetal with a catchy mainstream rock refrain. I was surprised by this combination which seems to be their trademark. And it works very well I think. The second track "Snowflake" (5:30) has a slow heavy character. Heavy Hammond sounds and nice guitar solos. The singer of the band Rune Sørheim is very good, sometimes he remembers me of James LaBrie of one of their inspirations Dream Theater and in the following track "Dead man" (5:13) his sings like Bono of the band U2. "Dead man" is again very up-tempo with a catchy refrain. The title track "Velvet Thorns" (4:49) starts with the beautiful piano and a frettless bass, which create a beautiful atmosphere. But after one and a half-minute the song is becoming heavy. "Virtual steps" (3:17) starts like a U2 song but the mainstream rock and metal combination is giving the track that little bit extra. "Bustale" (4:12) could be a single with that catchy refrain. After those more mainstream songs the next songs "New horizon" (3:39) and "New angel" (3:28) has more the structure of a Dream Theater song with U2 refrain. "New narrow needle groove" (3:44) has some pieces which give me a Dream Theater déjà vu. "My aching pain" (7:19) is a slow song which ends with the beautiful piano from the beginning.


Sonic Debris debut album is showing a band which is trying to create their own sound. The band has potential and if they manage to combine the Dream Theater and U2 influences into a form where you don't recognise this; it will be very interesting to follow this band. In the songs where the singer don't try to sing like Bono or James LaBrie, but just like Rune Sørheim himself, we can hear the real Sonic Debris. He doesn't need this because I think he is a very good singer. And if you can play a kind of Dream Theater music you must have some skills on your instruments. Personally I would like to hear more atmospheric keyboard and piano work from Jan Peter Ringvold as a contrast to the heavy music. In overall this is a good debut album from a young talented band.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - January 2001 -   - DVS Records