'Ecstasy Of God'
My first listen to 'Ecstasy Of God' from German technical death Metal quintet Spheron made such a positive impact on me I found it hard to believe it was a debut album, it really is that good.
It's death Metal with a technical edge, but not so much so that it overrides everything, just enough to give that exciting edge; a perfect balance. On top of that, the vocals are magnificently brutal, deep harsh and rasping, yet with a high level of lyrical clarity.
Seeking inspiration from life, death, mankind, religion and society for their lyrical themes, this twelve track offering is a challenging but absorbing listen.
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Opening with the short, mood building instrumental 'A Means To An End', which drops away in tempo before moving into the intense riffs of 'The Beheaded Coachman', which has some great ponderous moments were the whole sound drops to a reflective level, serving to make the intense elements even more so.
The intense guitar work on 'Prestige Of The Mortals' is complemented with a great little solo midway and an impressive vocal range is achieved across the whole of the track. 'Saturnian Satellites' has nice little repeat guitar segment within the chorus, in fact the guitar work all-round is excellent on this track.
'Clasp The Thorns' has a slow, ominous, opener and it's an intense track that builds until the repeat riff pattern kicks in. This is also a long track, almost seven minutes, and the range of tempo and elements that have been worked in are quite extensive and so it makes for an interesting, attention grabbing listen.
The second instrumental, 'Prelude To The Misery', is a brief, reflective, guitar led piece that builds towards its end as it merges into the intense pulsating 'Five Degrees', continuing the theme of misery and I particularly loved the way the rasping vocals were used on this track.
'Pulse Of Instinct' has a hypnotic repeat riff opener, which continues across the track and although there are very good vocals throughout the album, I thought they were at their best here, highly expressive in their delivery. It's a slower and darkly ponderous track that is intense and sinister with some fabulous guitar segments across the track also. The tempo rises and falls across the track from slow and sinister to intense and manic on 'Tragedy Of The Clerics' closing on some great guitar work.
'Choking On Incense' is a pulsating track that gets your head nodding, initially becoming very drum orientated in its construct before taking on a slower sinister aspect and more tasty guitar work towards the latter end of the track.
A final excellent guitar led instrumental, the atmospheric 'Anthropogenic' before the final track, 'From Glint To Crackling', a dark brooding opener, with a slower in tempo throughout than on most of the previous tracks and awash with deep rasping vocals, a beautifully sinister final track with some excellent darkly emotive guitar work.
'Ecstasy Of God 'was produced by Christolph Brandes at the Iguana Studios (Necrophagist, Deadborn) and the rather interesting artwork is by Eliran Kantor (Testament, Hatebreed, Sodom and Atheist).
This is a fabulous album and worthy of a listen by anyone with an interest in brutal technical death Metal.