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A Journey Through Space - 93%

transientblur, March 21st, 2004

“Spheres” was the last release of the Dutch band Pestilence. It displayed a style similar to releases by Atheist and Cynic, an odd blend of fusion and death metal, aided by the now fully present guitar synths. Though they had been used in “Testimony Of The Ancients” and to a slighter degree “Consuming Impulse” the other-worldly bleeps and buzzes are now heard throughout the 33-minute album. Despite the booklet’s proud statement “There are no keyboards on this album” the many effect processors sound just like keyboards anyways. The album artwork is incredible, by far some of the best I’ve ever seen: a painting of space, a black hole, planets and the odd spiked ball seen on the cover of “Testimony Of The Ancients”. It accurately represents the sonic picture the album paints, an odd mix of beauty, anguish, confusion and thought. This is an album designed for relaxing and listening, and is definitely not a cd you’d throw on to get a party started.
The mix of the album is relatively even, though the vocals have been pushed to the back a bit. The bass is very loud and clear, which is definitely a positive. The production would be fine for a regular metal cd, but it hurts this album a little. The guitars are very loud and instead of a cold, washed out and reverb-ed sound you’d expect everything has an upfront and aggressive feel.
Musically this album is superb, the songs are full with memorable and complex riffs and parts all of which are executed perfectly by truly talented musicians. The lyrics are all thought provoking, dealing with self-exploration with some sci-fi hints. Of course it wouldn’t be a pestilence cd without a few instrumental lead in tracks. Reviewing the actual songs here would not do the album justice, this is not a skip around or listen only to your favorites affair. The instrumental breaks serve as an important break between the heavier songs. This cd is like boarding a space ship and traveling to another planet, there are asteroid belts and other daunting objects as well as wonderful interludes and solos as you drift along and approach your destination. And with the final note of “Demise of Time” struck the adventure abruptly ends, leaving you hoping that you left something behind that you must return for, just so you could take the voyage again.