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Spheron – A Clockwork Universe Award winner

A Clockwork Universe
by Anton Sanatov at 12 September 2016, 10:18 PM

Mayhem is a creation that can be both beautiful and petrifying. They key to the behaviour of its volatile demeanour lies in the blueprint of the genius that dares draw up the madness. We’ve all borne witness to the power of mayhem - its ability to stimulate and destroy, never seizing unless controlled – and thus know that not all are equipped to wrangle this maniacal beast; but nevertheless many try.

In the Metal world we are more than familiar with the concept of ‘mayhem’; after all, it is one of the driving forces behind the omnipotence of this genre. However, a lot of the bands often forget that it takes more than instrumental bedlam to paint a picture of artistic intensity, and thus get lost in the chaos. SPHERON however, prove that even within the stylistic of bounds of a genre such as Death Metal, through proper application of the creativity and technique, havoc and dark aggression can be the perfect instruments in the assembly of the ultimate musical experience. And on “A Clockwork Universe” they take us on a technical journey through the mechanism of modern madness contrived by the archaic apparatus of the human mind.

“A Clockwork Universe” is the musical equivalent of an M.C. Escher drawing. Every track leads you up (or down?) mind-bending staircases and never-ending corridors of raw, darkened melody, and delectably technical stratagems. After opening with the monstrously epic and chilling intro “Keeper of Time and Space”, SPHERON commence their conceptual masterpiece by throwing us into the haywire chronometer of “The Blind Watchmaker”, leaving us to navigate through a clockwork of intense (but flawless) power-driven, geometric riffing and bruising drums; in addition to startling melodic interludes filled with crying guitars and poignant insight that will tug at the gears of the most darkened soul.

Yes, it is in fact those latter melodic inclinations of “A Clockwork Universe” that make this record so astonishing. The atypical modes and exotic scalar approaches which sheath the two following tracks “Plains of Hungary” and “Pendulum”, takes the listener beyond the typical workings of the genre and into a foreign dimension of musicality. The prominent presence of haunting acoustics provides a tantalizing contrast to the well-constructed blast-beaten brutality of the songs. Tracks like “Building a Storm” and the scintillating 10-minute closer “Bound in Empty Jars” further explore these delectable progressive oscillations through elaborate instrumental phases and heavy harmonious progressions that carefully mirror the sensations of a twisted yet calculating mind.

The production is slightly dry and muddy; although it is indeed quite competent in delivering the progressive scope of the songs whilst retaining a bonafide Death Metal flavour.  The performances of the band are perfectly balanced, albeit a touch wooden. Yet whilst the instrumental execution is of the highest proficiency and truly make this record feel like a well-oiled timepiece, the compositional attributes of the entire band are still at the forefront. In addition to that, the vocals of Daniel Spoor – which range from masterful growls to character-driven cleans – bring a truly evolutionary range to the songs.

Overall – “A Clockwork Universe” manages to fuse tasteful musical virtues with genuine Death Metal mayhem to create an opus that transcends traditional concepts of madness. Through their progressive efforts, SPHERON pull at the screws of stifled minds and fill them with the beautiful mania of inspiration.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

  1. Keeper of Time and Space
  2. The Blind Watchmaker
  3. Plains of Hungary
  4. Pendulum
  5. Gargantua
  6. Building a Storm
  7. My Master's Work
  8. Bound in Empty Jars
Daniel Spoor - Vocals
Tobias Alter - Lead Guitar
Mark Walther - Rhythm Guitar
Matthias Minor - Bass
Tobias Blach - Drums
Record Label: Apostasy Records


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