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Sphere: Homo Hereticus

After finally getting a few things done with the site that I have been wanting and trying to do for a few days, I decided to take a short breather before diving into another album. I was thinking it was about time to do a first impression article, as I had not done one of those in a little while, or perhaps another full blown review to post tomorrow. Instead, I journeyed to Facebook, and found an invitation by Greg Rosenstahl of Godz of War Productions, a supporter of this site, to “like” the Death Metal band Sphere. On the band’s page when I visited was a nice bio about them, photos, a Youtube link, and five songs to stream. A quick searched turn up a demo and two full-lengths that these five songs seem to be taken from. So, why not have a look?

The first two on the player come off of the band’s 2011 self-released album Homo Hereticus. The first is the title track, and it kicks things off with a slightly dismal sounding introduction that doesn’t last too long before hammering into the music. The music on the song isn’t enough to really make me want to head bang, and the bass kicks had a clearer click to them that just came off too natural pretty loud despite its slightly distant sound in the mix. The song has a good amount of shifts to the music as well, most of the time not really feeling that necessary to the music, but still have some good transitions between the two. “Homo Hereticus” just felt like it was trying to do too much and left a less-than-rich sound behind that didn’t really impress me too much. “Psalm to the Dark One,” however, was a track that had a slight groove to it, and some solid music backing it up. The track itself felt thicker, which really worked to mask that cleaner bass kick of the drum kit. The mid-tempo pace really brought in more intensity to the mix as well, and the flow from start to finish felt a lot better, not really trying to shift the music as many times as the aforementioned title track did. It does slow down a bit towards the end, but it feels like it works and doesn’t really feel forced, especially when it starts to build up a little more before concluding rather abruptly. This happened in the previous track as well, which are probably just due to how the songs are split up on the album.

The next three come from their debut album Damned Souls Rituals, which was apparently released through Empire Records. “Next Morning’s Mass” feels as rich as the previous songs, though the bass kick issue doesn’t exist. Instead, that rich material suddenly drops out to slower passages that clearly try to take a Brutal Death Metal path with some Slam influence without going directly into a breakdown. There’s also some pig squeels that do appear later, but are lower in the mix with some effects added. There’s really nothing too original or unique here though, but it’s consistant, and overall an enjoyable track. “Sin of Seventeen” kicks things off on a much more aggressive manner, and even carries a bit of a Middle Eastern sound to the chorus that is simply ok. The addition of whispered vocals over the bridge between the two region-based music passages works well in the sense of variety, and the guitar solo works well for the crushing, and clearly energy-driven music being played.

Finally you have “Saved from Heaven” to close out the band’s playlist. The song itself thunds forward at the start with fast paced chords and blistering bass kicks that match the machinegun like pace of “Homo Hereritcus” and “Psalm to the Dark One,” but better suit a Brutal Death Metal pattern. The pig squeels come back in during the chorus, but are more in a dueling fasgion with the guttural vocals. The music does seem to shift quite a lot here as well, but again the transitions work out well, and the differences in music do seem to work out in the long run to retain the aggression the song started with, even with the slower section prior to the chorus.

While Sphere impress me to the point where I felt that they needed to be in my physical CD collection, I did feel the group put some good tracks out there to listen to. I’ve heard the playlist a few times now, and I’m not getting bored of it, though I definitely prefer their debut material over their new album. I can see the band being picked up by a bigger label at some point, and hopefully they get a better production or the album too. While both albums represented don’t come off too bad in sound, the variances between the rich and weaker material is really obvious, and much of the bite to these songs did end up being lost in the process. Would I “like” the band? Well, yeah, from what I hear I can see myself doing that. In fact, I just did.

Facebook profile brought to my attention by:
Greg Rosenstahl of Godz of War Productions.