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Review: Pestilence - Spheres

Label: Agonia Records
Year released: 2023
Originally released in: 1993
Duration: 33:17
Tracks: 11
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 2/5

Review online: July 3, 2023
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4/5 (80%) (8 Votes)

I am on record as not liking this album, and it is a divisive recording in the Pestilence canon, as it marks where they shifted from the straight Death Metal sound of their early albums to the more progressive direction that brought them new fans and ultimately killed the band for like fifteen years. But I had not actually listened to this album for a very long time, and my tastes have evolved, so when this promo for the rerelease Agonia is doing of the first four Pestilence albums came in, I thought the least I could do was give the thing another chance.

Even with a remaster, the production on this is not that great. The sound is kind of thin and very dry, and that's obviously a choice made so that you can hear all the details of the music, but it makes it sound far less exciting than it could have. The playing is pretty sharp but not flashy or technical enough to really be that interesting. You definitely get the sense of the band pushing themselves to play this, but they don't sound very excited about it. Lifeless, would be a good word for the recording. This is obviously influenced by prog/jazz stuff like Cynic or Atheist, but it just falls into the trap of song structures that are complicated but repetitive, and have no flow to them, they just repeat the same intricate riff over and over, sometimes with a bit of variation, but not enough to really be interesting. Another problem is that all these songs sound very much alike, with the same kinds of riff patterns and song structures, so overall it is like one interminable song with the same riffs being played to death.

I wanted to give this more of a chance to impress me, but overall I find it just as tedious as I did back in 1994, maybe more so, because there are bands who do this kind of thing so much better now just as there were then. This gets a lot of love from progheads, but even in that regard it is not very good.

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