Moving In Stereo: Album Review on Spheres’ Forsaken Dirge

Posted on March 17, 2012 by

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Recently in the mail, the newspaper received an album and press release on a band hailing from Australia whose label is based in L.A. This being such a rare occurrence, I felt compelled to write review on it. Spheres’ label, Sonoptik, may be based in L.A. however they do not appear to have any major label ties, which makes it an even odder occurrence they would be sending an EP to the Voice, either way pretty cool.

     Forsaken Dirge is a five track EP that claims to pull inspiration from elements such as “howling winds, crashing waves, thunder and glacial ice,” according to the Sonoptik press release. With such a lineup of earthly powers the tracks all have a certain ambient experimental feel that mainstream music lacks.

The album starts with the song “Impious Interment,” an instrumental tune that appears to feature the sound of a shovel being dragged on pavement, a cowbell, the occasional far off wind gust, and a very low played and a slow tempo piano for the entire two minutes and thirty second duration. Besides sounding like something out of a horror movie it actually has rhythm and is not full of dissonance and clashing sounds one would expect when these elements are brought together.

The fifth track, entitled “Salvation for the Wretched,” truly sounds like a salvation song, maybe not one that would be played in a church, but for ambient metal, it surely brings upon feelings of salvation. The loud symbols crashes played slowly with the drums accompany the holy sounding voice quite melodically in a way that is surprising soothing to the ears.

According to the Sonoptik press release, Spheres wrote and made this album in the remote place named Van Diemens Land (aka Tasmania, Australia). I can only begin to imagine what being away from the distractions of the busy, non-remote world can do for a musicians focus to create something as unique as this collection of melodically brilliant songs. The diversity of the sounds used is what makes this album so brilliant, also the way the all the elements blend together so well.  I myself do not normally seek out such music like this, but after giving a serious open minded listen it is quite interesting and good.

While this album is aesthetically pleasing to the ears with its well-planned out rhythms, it is not perfect. On “Salvation for the Wretched,” and a few other songs, there appears to be some small amount of very low, understated vocals. They sound good but are very hard to hear even with headphones. Other than that this album was surprisingly awesome.

I give Spheres’ Forsaken Dirge 4 out of 5 Stars

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