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Nice artwork and solid songs - 69%

Felix 1666, January 10th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Satanath Records

Ancient Spheres originate from Costa Rica. It took me more than 48 years of my life to discover a basically interesting band from this country. Thus, I have high expectations. No, just kidding. I appreciate more or less exotic bands for their fighting spirit, because they often have to master difficult circumstances. No scene, no support, no "metallic infrastructure". But against all odds, Ancient Spheres have made their way so far. Moreover, the motivated trio delivers a very luxuriously equipped album. 77 minutes leave no wishes open in terms of quantity. Yet we all know, it's a tremendous challenge to design such a long album in an exciting way. And yes, "In Conspiracy with the Night" should have been shortened. However, this is a venial sin.

Ancient Spheres play a mid-harsh form of black metal. In terms of style and melodies, it is comparable with that of Ancient (without "Spheres") from Norway. But unlike the labile line-ups of Aphazel, the dudes from Costa Rica are immune against lukewarm gothic ingredients. The tempo is mostly high and the whole album reflects a colossal joy of playing. Admittedly, the songs are similar to each other. The band - in the person of guitarist and sole composer Adolfo Bejarano - has found its formula and uses it with great conviction. Yes, it would be helpful for the sake of diversification to have more members contributing some material. Anyway, Bejarano has done a good job, although his approach does not offer something completely new.

A sinister atmosphere is combined with slightly melodic leads and pretty deep vocals. On the one hand, this approach prevents outstanding highlights. The album rather delivers a seemingly endless stream of dark tones and even the lyrics seem to deal with just one topic. On the other hand, there is no throwaway track. The guys know their skills without being interested in hazardous experiments. Surprising twists and turns? No way. The first notes define the entire track. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the songs are lacklustre, insubstantial or half-baked. Only one or two pieces suffer a little bit from aimlessly meandering leads, but that's no reason to be concerned.

Slightly annoying is the fact that the production leaves much room for improvement. The full-length sounds better than a demo, no doubt about it, but the dull mix prevents a more sustainable effect of the music. Neither the guitars nor the drums come into their own. However, this is not a catastrophe and the album still has its charm, not only because of its elegant cover. Little gimmicks like the ringing of a bell in one of the tracks ("Cold and Dead Stone") refine the sound pattern, but I wish the group would have the courage to integrate some more surprising elements. However, I enjoy to listen to the solid work of an honest band - and Costa Rica is no longer a white spot on my metal map. I hope I do not need to wait again 48 years for the second band from this country.