Nospūn – Opus (Album Review)

Review of the new album from Nospūn – Opus

2023 has been very busy as far with plenty of new offerings from classic bands and heavyweights just in the first half. But the biggest surprise has been the number of impressive debut albums so far this year, and we have another one to add to that list with ‘Opus’ from the American band prog metal group Nospūn. The group, from North Carolina, has basically come out of nowhere with one of the more impressive prog metal debut albums you’re likely to hear. Released in May of this year, Opus has gained traction the old-fashioned way, word of mouth. So what is this album like? Well, if you like Dream Theater, Haken, Native Construct, BTBAM, and even a little Avenged Sevenfold, this is the album you’ll want to look into.

The first thing that is noticeable upon listening to this album is the immaculate production. This is as good-sounding an album as you can hear from any of the major bands that have been doing this for a long time. The production was all done in-house by the band, nothing short of impressive. The other aspect that sticks out is that this band knows what they want to achieve and seemed to have a plan when making this album, from the arranging to the over-sequencing. It all flows and makes sense. Nothing feels disjointed or confused, as you might expect from a debut album.

As with many concept albums, ‘Opus’ opens with an acoustic/vocal track softly laying the groundwork for the story about “The House at the End,” which of course leads into the “Implosion Overture.” You can immediately tell these are guys that can play; all the elements are there, brilliant fret-work on the guitars (James Nelson), explosive drums (Paul Wood), and complicated bass lines (Cole Millward). The first main track “The Death of Simpson” starts to lay out the story both lyrically and musically, with vocalist Phil Rich displaying a dynamic range that fits perfectly.

The strongest section of the album is from tracks 6-9 which is a truly wonderful 4-song stretch beginning with the frantic and fun “Earwyrm,” one of my favorite songs of the year. It is both crazy and gorgeous in one song. “…And Then There Was One” is a slightly mellower turn for the album and features the most singable chorus on the record. “4D Printing” is a wild instrumental with some incredible musicality and heaviness. And what would a prog metal album be without a long epic, which you will get in “Within the Realm of Possibility.” The album closes in epic fashion by wrapping things up with “The House at the Beginning.”

Now there are a lot of noticeable influences; you can definitely hear Dream Theater at times, or Haken at times, but the band are also able to mold those into their own sound as the album continues from one song to the next. Hopefully, the band continue to grow more into their own sound on future albums. But if this debut is any indication, we should expect big things from Nospūn in the future. ‘Opus’ from Nospūn is one of the best albums to come out this year and you can expect to see on best of the year lists.

Released May 19, 2023

Vocals by Phillip Rich
Guitars by James Nelson
Bass by Cole Millward
Drums by Paul Wood, Raine Rumple
Keys by David Frick, James Nelson, Cole Millward
Additional Percussion by James Nelson
Cello by Alex Lapuente

Order the album here:

1.The House at the End 01:53
2.Implosion Overture 05:14
3.The Death of Simpson 09:10
4.Dance With Me! 03:48
5.Tougher Love 02:56
6.Earwyrm 05:21
7….And Then There Was One 07:16
8.4D Printing 06:42
9.Within the Realm of Possibility 15:23
10.Back, Yet Forward 09:18
11.The House at the Beginning 03:57

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