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Pestilence - Spheres CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.18 | 125 ratings

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5 stars This is a record that I haven't been able to put down since I first heard it. Every morning I wake up and tell myself that I'm just going to play the first few songs and try something new, but every single time without failure I just have to play this guy start to finish. The atmosphere and intensity of this record is something that really stands out about it, the death growls sounds fantastic here and there's a great contrast within the short and sweet track listing. The riffs and grooves across this record are instantly memorable, and there's plenty of heavy keys to accompany the windy riffage.

This is a record that holds no punches, it takes off running instantly with the aggressive and driving Mind Reflections. There's an awesome instrumental breakdown/guitar solo passage halfway through. Running at a mere three and a half minutes, it feels like there's so much packed into this song and that's gonna be a common theme you see across this record. Multiple Beings follows that up keeping that momentum, this track almost has some of those nasty Kevin Moore organ tones, yet this record predates Awake by a year which is what I really have in mind while hearing it. The hook of this song starting around 1:20 is so mesmerizing to me, the guitar riff is so off-kilter and hypnotic. Once again the instrumental passages are extremely well developed and simply put, creative! The following track The Level of Perception is one of my favorites for sure. Super heavy and unrelenting, the riff that kicks in at the 0:22 second mark is unbelievably cool, but its really the unconventional and frantic instrumental switch up half way through that sends this track into the stratosphere for me. Following this is the short and eerie instrumental Aurian Eyes, I love these brief instrumental interludes throughout. For one I think its sort of bold and balsy to include in the context of the scene and the albums they were coming off of, but on top of that I genuinely think they add a lot to the record on all fronts.

After this seriously impressive opening, the waves just keep on rushing in with Soul Search. Another super aggressive track with some more sweet accompanying keys. This one gives me some Death vibes with some very explosive guitar soloing within the latter half. However, the next track Personal Energy absolutely blows my socks off, I just cannot stress how unique and brilliant this track is. It almost has some Pink Floyd vibes to the instrumental, but there's some really strong elements of Jazz Fusion at the forefront of this song as well. The thing that mostly blows my mind here is the vocal delivery, this is not a song I could even fathom placing death growls on top of, but against all odds is works gloriously. I just can't praise it enough. Towards the end it takes off into orbit with a beautiful jazzy synth solo that smoothly builds and gently eases right back into the main hook seemingly effortlessly. Coming off of this the short meditative interlude of Voices From Within which works splendidly.

Up next is the kick-ass title track flipping the death metal switch back on. The chugging guitar riffage that starts at 1:50 gets me every time, I love those spooky dissonant synths that come in on top of it. The ending of this song has a very unexpectedly shreddy synth solo and it's additions like this that add so much personality to this record. The next song Changing Perspectives has a very doomy and distressed sounding intro, it really sounds like the world is ending. Some of the tones sort of have that middle eastern sitar sort of sound to it and it just comes through sounding so menacing. I can't even describe what happens at 2:19, the guitar just lets loose and it feels like the song begins melting around me. The final short instrumental interlude Phileas works once again very well in the context of the record, it gives me the vibe of a safe room before the final boss, which in many ways that's what it is. Is has a feeling of being towards the end of the line, as if closure is right on the horizon. Demise of Time is the closer and it always leaves me feeling so completely satisfied. My favorite section begins at 1:35 where it kicks into this filthy riff, but it only gets better as it kicks into this obscenely cool groove. The album ends, and I always feel like I was just taken on a journey through an otherworldly hellish place, with glistens of light shining through the cracks.

This album has blown me away from my first listen and it's become not only one of my favorite metal albums, but one of my favorite albums of any genre or style, period. 5 Stars, and essential of progressive death metal/technical death metal.

dougmcauliffe | 5/5 |


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