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Oops, this isn't Voivod, and this isn't Killing Technology. But in many way it reminds me of those wacky Canadians' best album. Strange, jazzy riffs, loud, quasi techical drums and harsh, shouted vocals all scream Voivod. Well, that and the strong sci-fi vibe this album has.
Spheres is not a comfortable listening experience. I picked this one up before any other Pestilence album, and was utterly confused for a good while. As a Morbid Angel worshipping 15 year old, I think the exact words out of my mouth were "what the fuck is this shit?" It was alien music back then, and 15 years later it still is.
Patrick Mameli's vocals sound like a transmission from a distant spacecraft! For all the money they spent on guitar effects (hey! They DID NOT use keyboards on here!), they probably could have kicked a little more cash to the producer and gotten a better sound out of it. Once again, though, the totally weird sound (especially the guitars) makes you feel like you're on some sort of flying saucer with little green men. B-grade sci-fi movies must have been a definite influence at this point.
It's quite possible that upon initial listen, you won't remember a thing from this album. That's odd, because there are no really strange structures, just weird music. The slower moments stand out the most, especially "Personal Energy," which is actually beautiful. The guitar synth solo in there is breathtaking! The "heavy" stuff is solid, as well, albeit not quite as memorable. While there is enough of the fret grinding Possessed influenced riffing of Testimony of the Ancients, a greater focus on melody and the aforementioned bizarre production makes this seem much more like a psychedelic mix of thrash and jazz fusion.
One thing that I really love about this album is the bass. Jeroen is all over the place with his slithery fretless bass action, and it's pushed to the front of the mix. At some times, it feels like he's playing an entirely different song. It is in these sections that the jazz influence becomes totally obvious.
There is nothing like Spheres out there, and I don't think there ever should be. You can tell this is Pestilence, but I often have to pinch myself, or ask if I've accidentally eaten some strange fungus during the experience. Spheres requires a very open mind, previous exposure to and enjoyment of music outside of orthodox metal. If you've got that applies to you, hop on board and take a trip into deep (inner) space!