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Pestilence - Spheres CD (album) cover

SPHERES

Pestilence

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.03 | 73 ratings

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Time Signature
5 stars Changing perspectives...

"Spheres" has been hailed as being one of the pivotal technical/progressive death metal releases of the 90s along with Death's "Symbolic", Atheist's "Unquestionable Presence" and Cynic's "Focus". I agree completely. "Spheres" is no less than a stroke of genious.

However, what I like about it is the way that it sets itself apart from other technical/progressive death metal albums. The musical progressiveness of Pestilence on "Spheres" does not rely as much on being technical as many of their contemporary fellow technical/progressive death metal bands did.

The music on "Spheres" is very much influenced by jazz fusion which is evident in the use of a number of jazz chords and also one-string guitar riffage based on scales that are often used in various genres within jazz music. Also, the band makes use of synthesizers (allegedly only guitar synths), not to perform technically different melodies as we hear in a lot of progressive metal la Dream Theater (nothing wrong with that, though - I love it) but rather to create spacey sounds that establish an athmosphere that has never been heard on a death metal album before that (not even on releases by Nocturnus who were otherwise well known for their use of synths in death metal). This actually works much better than one might expect - perhaps because of the very compact production of the album which does lack some bottom. The main locus of the jazz fusion influences, I think, is the guitar solos which in many cases sound like the could have occurred on a modern jazz record rather than a death metal record. One thing that makes this an unmistakable Pestilence album is that, despite this musical direction, they make use of guitar riff that consist of short and repeated figures.

"Spheres" is a weird album, to be sure, and so, I recommend it to more adventurous fans of progressive rock, (progressive) metal, and (technical/progressive) death metal. Maybe some interested jazz fusion fans might appreciate it too.

Time Signature | 5/5 |

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