SPHERE - Homo Hereticus (MASTERFUL Records - CD 2012)
When I first have found out the news about the release of Sphere’s “Homo Hereticus” CD I thought this is a new, only recently formed band, but surprisingly I was wrong and it turned out that Sphere is active since 2002 and after the demo 2004 they have released an album in 2007 (“Damned Souls Ritual” for Empire Records). Shit, I’ve been living in UK at that time, so that may be one of the reasons why I’ve never heard of this album before this morning, from the other hand though I’ve never been really so bothered about all those CDs, which Empire was adding to their famous magazine. Anyway, 2012 welcomes Sphere back to the scene with the second full length album, “Homo Hereticus”. CD is limited to 666 copies and I cannot really understand the reason for such a small quantity of this pressing, maybe Masterful Records don’t believe they’ll be able to sell more copies than that… Who knows. I can tell you one thing – if you’re looking for quality death metal from Poland, then get this album before it’s too late, otherwise you may be regretting it when all of those 666 copies will be gone.
The band plays death metal, what to some of you may be a reason enough to get the CD right now, but it may as well be one to avoid this CD – depends who you talk to hehe. Polish death metal has definitely grown a lot since the early 90’s and nowadays stands firmly as one of the most exciting scenes on the globe, but at the same time it still hasn’t been getting as much praise as the Swedish, Dutch or American bands… Which is just a matter of taste, of course. Definitely most of the Polish death metal bands have been choosing the way of more technical and fast, but still relatively obscure and straight forward playing, something on the verge of old school and more modern styles. It’s like most of the Polish bands wanted to be technical, but not over complex; fast and brutal, but without the monotony and to keep the right balance between that and the memorable riffs and song structures. And I guess Sphere’s music is exactly like that. It also has plenty of fragments, which have a definite old school touch, but also many, which sound more modern and sometimes also technically advanced. The band really goes through the varied methods of death metal destruction, incorporating a wide range of paces and riffing. Of course those of you, who’re into such bands as Deicide, Vader, Sinister, Stillborn will find here more than everybody else. And trust me, there’s some seriously brutal neckbreaking metal going on, with such tracks as “Forever Sworn to Blasphemy” for instance, which opens the album with killer riffs full of insanity and violence. And the same can be said about such tracks as “Third Scent Carcass” (fast as hell!), “Psalm to the Dark One” and “Homo Hereticus”. Not necessarily they’re just fast all the time, because the title song is more mid paced and has almost groovy riffs here and there, but it’s still very aggressive and merciless, something what will just make you bang your head without remorse.
“Godless Profanity” from the other hand brings some slightly more melodic and catchy riffs, which is OK… And one of my favourite tracks on the album is “War”, and this song is just pure violence, played in ultra fast tempo and with very simple straight forward attitude, just a basic riff and as the whole it even reminds me those tracks, which Marduk did on “Pazerdivision Marduk” LP. You know, it’s the relentless aggression, fast pace all the way through and constant bombarding, which ends within two minutes. And to make the album even more varied, there’s “Sadistfucktion”, which is almost punky and very much sounds like Impaled Nazarene, especially with those pervert lyrics! Some of you may find this song as a nice interruption between another cannonade of fast death metal, but personally I didn’t like it and I think this is the weakest part of the “Homo Hereticus”. Anyway, some of these songs I mentioned are quite short, what makes them even more uncompromising and right in your face and definitely Sphere will not let you fall asleep. And the fact that there’s an intro before every song doesn’t let the album lose any of its energy and aggression.
What I don’t like about Sphere’s second album then? Well, first there are some (luckily short and just few) vocal parts, in pig squealing style (in “Third Scent Carcass” and “Godless Profanity” for instance), which I don’t find as necessary and they just piss me off. I would rather not find them here, especially as the normal growl of Analripper is… hmm, arse ripping hehe! What else? Well, although I like Sphere’s music and can say that all these songs are very good, I may still miss a little bit more, something what would really nail me to the ground. It’s the same feeling, which I have when I’m listening to Stillborn’s albums. They’re very good, definitely worth having and listening, but it needs slightly more to cause pure chaos and devastation.
Uhhh… I don’t know whether Sphere will get much exposure and attention of the scene around the globe with “Homo Hereticus”. There are many better bands around, including few more significant representatives of the Polish underground, so few of you may not be really bothered with what Sphere has to offer. But I seriously advice you to check “Homo Hereticus” anyway, as this is very solid and in many parts impressive effort, which definitely stands above the vast number of mediocrity of the present metal and has enough to offer to feel satisfied and content. So, if you dig all those underground releases from small bands and small labels, but still aim for quality, then get “Homo Hereticus” without hesitation.
Final rate: 70/100