“Franticode” is the debut album of instrumental progressive fusion band Aphelion, a young quartet from Treviso, Italy. Aphelion was founded in 2004 by keyboardist Allessandro Bertoni. Their demo CD “Demonstructive” attracted some attention and in the year 2008 the label Lizard Records released the band's first official release entitled “Franticode”. The beautiful artwork is from Mattias Norén (ProgArt), well known in the progressive scene. Derek Sherinian, former keyboardist of Dream Theater and the mind behind Planet X, has mixed the album. “Franticode” is an album full of intense instrumental progressive fusion.
Special guest: Alex Stornello - guitar solo in “Clouds over Tharsis”
The album opens with the fine track “Hercoloubus”. The first thing you will notice is that this album sounds great and that the band consists of talented musicians who have the skills to play this kind of intense and complex music. Instrumental progressive fusion ... a melting pot of progressive rock and jazz fusion. “Hercoloubus” has often a dark atmosphere and includes a lot of rhythm changes and strong solo parts. Delicious synth sounds, jazzy fretless bass parts, melodic guitar parts and complex drum rhythms. This opener stands for the music Aphelion is making. I like the melodic side of Matteo Gasparin's guitar playing. Alessandro Bertoni's sound is influenced by Derek Sherinian.
“Hybris” shows the heavy and complex side of Aphelion's music. The opening of the track is overwhelming and very intense. Alessandro shows his skills on the piano in some jazzy parts of the middle section of this composition. You can hear a lot of freaking solo's in this track ... the band is on steam in “Hybris”. In “Dreaming in Franticode” the heavy and complex parts are combined with melodic guitar parts and jazzy piano parts. This gives the music a better contrast. Allessandro Bertoni plays a great synth solo in this convincing composition.
The next song “Orbit Out” is a welcome restpoint after all that power. You can enjoy beautiful melodic and flowing guitar parts and nice synth solo's in this track. “Orbit Out” shows us the jazz fusion side of the band.
In “Clouds over Tharsis” guest guitarist Alex Stornello plays a wonderful guitar solo in the vein of Alan Holdsworth. I think that all good guitar players at one point are somehow influenced by the master himself. Matteo Gasparin must be also a fan of the master because he plays in a very melodic way and his guitar notes flow into one another. You can hear this in the solo at the end of the following track “Mecurial Sand”. A track which opens with mysterious keyboard strings and a jazzy piano. But later on the music becomes more complex.
The last track of this album is entitled “Primordial Crossbreeding”, a track with a dark atmosphere in which Sebastiano Pozzobon gets room to show his musical skills on the bass. And then suddenly the music stops ... three quarters long you have been listening to this complex and technical music. This is a big compliment to the band. The music on this album is diverse enough to hold the attention of the listener.
With “Franticode” Aphelion has made a convincing debut album. All the members of the band have the musical skills to perform such complex and technical music. “Franticode” is an album full of intense instrumental progressive fusion. Derek Sherinian has given the band with his mix a great sound and a great sounding album. The music on Franticode is a nice mix between heavy progressive rock and jazz fusion. The music is often complex and very intense. But the band keeps the album in balance by adding enough melodic parts to the music. I recommend this album to the lovers of heavy progressive rock and instrumental progressive (jazz) fusion.