DEGREE ABSOLUTE – Degree Absolute

DEGREE ABSOLUTE - Degree Absolute


Laser’s Edge/Sensory
Release date: January 31, 2006

User Review
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It has been a long way from when the idea of Degree Absolute formed in the head of multi-instrumentalist Aaron Bell in the late 1990’s, up to this year’s eponymous album debut. After first recording all the material himself, he sought and found two highly competent associates to fill in the desired bass and drum parts. The outcome is a musical hybrid.

The Music

The name Degree Absolute hints of a blue-ish, cold landscape, and the cover artwork, as well as the music on Degree Absolute, supports this image. It’s easy to fit some of the Degree Absolute music under the vast umbrella of Metal. At the same time, Aaron Bell and his companions look way beyond the rim of the very same umbrella. Among the harder parts, there are moments and longer passages of serenity and wordless poetry. This allows for dynamic interplay – a contrast if you like, which becomes the music’s major impact.

The production quality of Degree Absolute is worth mentioning! Whereas the heavier and often syncopated parts are given a very dry mix (somewhat like … And Justice For All by Metallica), the more ambient, or softer parts, are given a wet and spacious mix (not far from the spaced out moments on Meddle by Pink Floyd). This adds to and accentuates the aforementioned contrast within the music.

Literally kicking it off with “Exist,” Degree Absolute present nine songs (and a “hidden” bonus); some hook up with you quickly and some need time to mature. The first few songs are heavier throughout, while the middle of the album is softer and dreamier, especially the instrumental “Distance.” The album is rounded off with a more mixed expression, and peaks with the two brilliant “Ask Nothing Of Me” and “Ergo Sum.”

The Band

Aaron Bell is the source of this music, and he speaks through guitars and synths to voice his vision. The man is not only technically brilliant, he conveys honest, soulful messages as well. Pay particular attention to his clean guitar sound, which is as rich as it is rare. Completing the trio are Dave Lindeman on bass and Doug Beary on drums. Both reveal profound understanding for Bell’s material and they help form a unified sound.

The Verdict

This is a diverse and interesting experience! Although some of the harder or heavier parts sound a little static compared to their more ambient counterparts, Degree Absolute manages to render a convincing impression. The music is challenging at times, but within reach for most open-minded lovers of Metal.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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