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Pestilence - Spheres CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.18 | 125 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars |C+| Another worthy album for fans of the death metal/fusion combination.

This is indeed an interesting and sort of strange little "gem" of an album that I had to check out, the fan of unknown gems that I am. As many have commented, it is a mixed bag of death metal and jazz-fusion, in the same vein as Atheist, Cynic, and Watchtower, though the production and composition are a bit less developed than either, in my opinion. The jazz-fusion refers to musical timbres far more than actual composition, of which there is pretty much no jazz in terms of the improvisational style. What's more, it's more "post jazz" sounding fusion, when many jazz-fusion artists (mostly in the eighties) broke off from the traditional jazz sound and favored an incredibly more electric-based sound, especially groups like Trio of Doom or Chick Corea Electrik Band. Basically, you're going to here a lot more influences from Death than you are from Miles Davis, for certain.

At first I was incredibly turned off from this album by the opening track, which featured the not-so-well-produced metal guitar riff that repeated over and over and some less-than-appealing sounding gutteral vocals. But this album grew on me a bit, as most prog does with subsequent listens; as you get further through the album the fusion element increases, and I would say, so does the level of composition (and not from any bias; I tend to like progressive death metal as much as I like a lot of jazz-fusion). Personal Energy is probably my favorite track, as it seems the most innovative and unique, rivaling even some of Atheist's and Cynic's best tracks. And we're definitely talking about prog here, these guys do some insanely complicated things with rhythms and harmonies. I don't like the keyboard imitation of the acoustic instruments, but a band's budget is a band's budget.

In general, this is probably a great album for fans of the already mentioned bands. This is a solid album worth buying, with great musicianship and deceptively complex composition. If the death metal/fusion combo is your thing (as it is mine) this is a more than worthy album for your collection. There are a lot of really good riffs and interesting bridges of compositional style between death metal and electric fusion, with great musicianship. Some of the chord progressions get really dissonant too, in an impressive way. The second half of the album is probably best. This really falls right between a three and a four, and while I like the album, I find it more "interesting" than good. What's more, there's nothing here that Atheist and Cynic don't have superior mastery, even during the album's creation.

Isa | 3/5 |


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