Sphere are a Polish death metal act who released their second full-length album "Homo Hereticus" earlier this month. I have not heard their debut, so this was my first experience with the band. Though not floored, I was not disappointed.
The first thing that struck me about this album is that, even without knowing their place of origin beforehand, it would have taken about 10 seconds to guess this band was from Poland. Many countries and regions have recognizable styles that emerge in their death metal scenes, and Poland definitely has one of its own. Clearly enhancing that effect for Sphere is the fact that their vocalist reminds me so much of Peter from Vader. The general style of their riff construction and their very tight drumming further enhance the feeling of similarity to Vader. This is not on its own an entirely bad thing, as there are certainly worse bands one could sound like. There are, however, a couple downsides. One is that Vader have remained, over the years, pretty active and consistent, so there is not a shortage of actual Vader material without having to resort to sound-alikes. The second, and frankly more significant, problem is that while they have a very similar sound, they don't do it as well. The vocals again are largely responsible for this. While they are very similar in tone and style, they fall well short of Peter's powerful delivery and meaty low end.
On the up-side, the riffs are strong and driving, and most songs catch the listener up quickly and easily with their excellent level of energy. The track-list is also quite solid throughout, though "Sadistfucktion" fell pretty flat in my opinion. The drumming is probably the album's musical highlight as it is fast, technical, and perfectly executed. The production is good and clear, quite clean but not over-polished.
This album is actually quite enjoyable, but the grade goes down a bit because I can't shake the feeling that I'm listening to Vader Lite.