In the ever increasing sea of female-fronted symphonic metal bands, enter France's Auspex with their sophomore release Heliopause. Obvious comparisons to Nightwish, Epica, After Forever, and the like are sure to abound across many reviews. Of greater consequence is whether Auspex can stand shoulder to shoulder or, better, above their peers. Frankly, that reckoning may be quite difficult.
Clearly the focus is upon Elodie's vocal performance: she's a fine singer with great range. The music, particularly the vocal arrangements, revolve almost entirely around her. Most times these are inspiring as on Silence or The Pulse of Emptiness. But then they're confusing as on I Walked Awoken of Titan where nearly unintelligible spoken whispering is intertwined with singing. To the music itself, things don't get really going or truly interesting until the fourth (and possibly best) track In Through the Looking Glass, Finally, with this more progressive arrangement you discover that their are other members in the band besides the vocalist.
Yet, even with the solid pieces, Ad Astra per Aspera and Resolutio, you don't find Heliopause overly compelling. Nothing here really jumps out at you, and makes you say, 'Wow, this really different.' Alternatively, you get the feeling that something is missing across the entirety of this work, but you can't put your finger on it. Or it may simply be that nothing is missing, and one thing is overpowering: Elodie's vocal performance. With this characteristic alone Auspex will definitely be a force in realm of female-fronted symphonic metal bands. But, on the whole, the verdict is still out on the strength of Auspex's Heliopause over and against their many peers.
With the huge pack of female-fronted symphonic metal bands in the European theater, the verdict is still out on the strength of Auspex's Heliopause over and against their many peers.