Among all the different regions where death metal has come from, the Polish scene has been particularly enchanting, with bands like Behemoth and Vader being some of the more prominent flag-bearers of Polish death metal. Sphere joins the ranks of these bands with Homo Hereticus, their second full length album to date since their formation 10 years ago, and boasting past and present members of bands such as Revelation of Doom and Hate in their lineup.
As the opening riffs of Forever Sworn to Blasphemy greets the listener, one is instantly reminded of fellow countrymen such as Infernal War in the tone of the guitar and in the ferocity of the music, especially with the buzzing trem-picked riffs, though Sphere prefers to take a slower and more intense approach to the execution of their music. Throughout the album as well, the Immolation influence is clearly audible, with many sections that are reminiscent of the former, and Analripper’s vocals sound almost similar to Immolation‘s Ross Dolan. Analripper also constantly shows off his vocal range, going from a guttural death growl to grindcore-ish squeal vocals like on Godless Profanity and Psalm to the Dark One.
The technicality of the individual instruments are also displayed generously, with songs often littered with complex and progressive-sounding guitar riffs by Lucas and Cthulu, such as those on Godless Profanity and Devils Reunion, topped by the relentless and forceful pounding on the skins by Th0rn. There is also the inclusion of typical brutal death metal moments with not only the heavy chugging riffs, but also the punctuating of these riffs with pinch harmonics, like on Third Scent Carcass. Th0rn displays his abilities best on tracks like Holistic Paralisys, with the constant and precise gravity blasts being some of the personal highlights of the track. The bass of Burning also presents a constantly ominous, rumbling presence throughout the album, giving a somewhat groovy feel to the music.
For the most part though, the material on Homo Hereticus is blistering and relentless death metal, and at times with a slightly blackened edge infused to increase the intensity and heaviness in the music. The various sound samples that are included on tracks like Sadisfucktion also serve to provide some entertainment value, allowing the track to really live up to its title. Furthermore, the straightforward song structure of short tracks like Sadisfucktion and Grave’s Cold Darkness at times give the album a grindcore feel. The organ at the beginning of Holistic Paralisys even reminds listeners of such moments that death/doom bands like Acid Witch like to utilise, and it is the inclusion of moments and surprises like these that keep listeners constantly engaged throughout the entirety of the album, not knowing what to expect next, making Homo Hereticus a thoroughly enjoyable release.