Hailing from Ludwigshafen in Germany, technical death metallers Spheron has announced themselves in fine brutal style with their debut album Ecstasy of God. Released via Apostasy Record, the twelve track attack of sadistic and adventurous extreme metal is an imposing and dynamic introduction which leaves no question whilst exciting the passions that the band is one with a rich imposing future ahead of them.
Formed in 2008, the quintet certainly drew strong attention with their previous EP To Dissect Paper in 2010 which followed their demo of two years earlier, but Ecstasy of God finds them ripping into even greater invention and imagination with their diverse blend of technical and death metal loaded with many more flavoursome essences. Though arguably it is not an album to probably challenge best of lists come the twilight of the year it certainly is one of the most thrilling and impressive debut full lengths of recent months which whilst satisfying every want in extreme metal still suggests there is plenty left for the band to explore and develop within themselves.
Produced with Christoph Brandes at Iguana Studios, Ecstasy of God impresses immediately with the instrumental A Means to an End, its inviting and drama suggesting melodic enterprise a potent persuasion drawing thoughts and senses into its rich embrace before allowing the following predatory The Beheaded Coachman to go for the jugular. Opening with a deliciously menacing and inventive bass stalking from Matthias Minor as the guitar of Tobias Alter sprays irresistible sonics across the sky of the impending storm and Mark Walther employs his contagious riffs, the second song is an instant big hook which once having caught the passions allows a raging tempest of concussive rhythms from Tobias Blach and deep drilling riffs to dance insidiously through the ear. It is a burning and scintillating fury with the guttural rapacious vocals of Daniel Spoor ruling venomously. It is also unafraid to tease and torment with unpredictable and fascinating melodic asides, almost breathers of beauty sent to taunt within the continuing torrent of exhaustive and aggressive invention. It is an outstanding beast which maybe is never quite matched but certainly given a continual close run for its money across the album.
The bestial Prestige of the Mortals savages the senses next, another exceptional bass confrontation coring the heart of the breath stealing avalanche of crushing rhythms and destructive riffing. Once again the band twists into the fire excellent sonic ingenuity and melodic flames which scorch the already bruised flesh of the ear and beyond as the varied vocal onslaught complements the invention with relish. It tenderises senses and thoughts throughout before passing on its victim to Saturnian Satellites and Clasp the Thorns to explore and manipulate even further and deeper. The first is an incessant fevered blaze of sonic colouring within a serpentine dark dwelling intensity whilst its successor smoulders initially with melodic evocation and sonic weaves caged in occasional rhythmic expulsions. Across its length that slow burning engagement is a constant invitation though once more the band infuses it with a constantly enthralling and explosive inventive intent, in sound, imagination, and pace.
The evocative melodic ‘interlude’ Prelude to the Misery is a soothing if sinister kiss within the ferocity though soon a distant memory as the voracious Five Degrees returns the album to a ravenous unpredictable storm. Further major highlights come with the corrosively intense Tragedy of the Clerics and another expertly imaginative melodic escape in Anthropogenic. The second song leads into the closing slow lumbering prowl of From Glint to Crackling, an intensive and air consuming finale which leaves a lingering and potent mark on the senses, just as the album achieves with the passions.
Ecstasy of God is an excellent excursion through destruction bred shadows and merciless malevolence but equally seduces with some of the finest melodic and sonic toxicity heard in extreme metal. Spheron is undoubtedly an emerging force which their debut suggests will be stealing our souls sooner rather than later.
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