SummaryOf splendid tales and lost wisdom
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By the mid-90’s doom/death metal was all over the place and Mythological Cold Towers were one of the earlier doom/death metal bands to rise from Brazil. Sphere of Nebaddon would mark the debut of this band and so far it’s my pick when it comes down to Brazilian doom/death metal stuff (not that there’s much to choice from and let’s face it; Brazil does best at early blackened death / thrash metal, but who doesn’t feel the same way?).
Anyway, as with plenty of 90’s doom/death metal bands, Mythological Cold Towers took inspiration from a variety of bands and blended their influences together in an unconventional manner. In terms of emotional evocation and vivid expression Sphere of Nebaddon feels more like an ancient tale retold through inhabitants of an obscure civilization than listening to any personal distress. The album almost feels like a pre-taste of Morgion’s Among Majestic Ruin thanks to the expressive leads and rough vocals – you’ll also recognize nods to the early works of Amorphis, Paradise Lost and Celtic Frost (who also influenced the early soundscapes of Morgion) here in terms of thick, engaged riffing.
Structurally Sphere of Nebaddon doesn’t overcomplicate things and if you’re a fan of a mostly verse-chorus format, the album will be right up your alley. That’s not to say the album has no surprises to boot, as if the low-end booming chord crash halfway through “Slaves in the Imaginary Abyssal Line” makes the track one hell of an unexpected experience; only turned even better once that noisy solo wails above it. Pacing-wise, Sphere of Nebaddon rarely sticks to the same old tempos for far too long, even if “In the Forgotten Melancholy of the Eternal Sea” (yeah, I know…) opens up with a dwelling chugging riff that’s alarming at first, yet it doesn’t take long before the track redeems itself through those soaring leads and thick-as-stone riffing. “Mythological Cold Towers” is about as epic as the Sphere of Nebaddon gets and emotionally ranges from momentous misery to unexpected aggression, as it reaches its violent peak halfway through with those As the Flowers Wither-esque riffs. Surprisingly enough this track originally came out even earlier – a first version called “The Resting of the Mist of the Lake” appears on Pentacrostic’s Agony of Souls, which came out in 1990!
Although you could do a lot worse, Sphere of Nebaddon does lack the occasional knockout punch and therein lies the problem; it’s a bit of a safe record. Most tracks move onward with little to complain about, although certain segments stand out more than other (the Paradise Lost/Amorphis-hybrid rhythm section that ends “A Portal to My Darkest Soul” or the Amorphis-esque semi-epic foreign crunch of “Celestial Dimensions into Silence” come to mind). “Exotic Voluptuousness of a Lost Feeling of Life” and “Of Inexistency” are a bit lackluster in terms of riffing, yet aren’t exactly without qualities either; I enjoy the Morgion-esque grinding grooves that dominate the former’s first half and the engaged leads of the latter.
There’s not much else to mention about Sphere of Nebaddon. Compared to some doom/death metal albums it falls somewhat short, yet given the year it’s one of the more interesting doom/death metal albums (and let’s face it; plenty of doom/death metal bands had already abandoned metal by this time or were close to doing so). So, this isn’t exactly essential, but it’s enjoyable for what it is nonetheless.
Release date: March 8th, 1996
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