This recently-established trio from Costa Rica has already released a full-length, which I can't make comparisons with as I haven't listened to that yet. They certainly prove to be a busy and committed band, since there have been several releases and appearances on compilations, as well as line-up changes and issues since they began their musical activity in 2010; in 2013 they also decided to play on stage and this 2015 release shows they haven't made compromises.
The monicker comes from ancient stone spheres found in the south of their homeland in the 1930's, still representing an archaelogical mystery like the ones discovered in South Africa; this album features a song on this topic, too, while the other topics covered are: ancient spirits invoked, an old tale, an ethereal being, night emperors come to conquer and devastate, a possession, slaughters, old forests and rites, and a lonely voluntary death.
After the tribal nocturnal intro with nature's sounds "Enchantment of the Night", "Invoking Darkness" and the Black Metal blastbeats start matched with traditional riffage alà Dark Funeral and solid bass lines, but it's actually the wicked Immortalesque vocals and the unstoppable pace of "A Tale Told Two Thousand Times" that bring the sonic pleasure to a different level.
Partly displaying fast tempos, "Ethereal" also contains a glacial break, interrupted by a vast assortment of mid and faster rhythms, very tight and oppressive in the way they present themselves.
Without shame of being accused of copying the forefathers of Black Metal, Ancient Spheres pour in tribute to the almighty Hellhammer in "Emperors of the Night", adding Immortal's influence in the quick parts, as well as a handful of growls.
No time for breath, the epic and destructive "The Sign" has come, embellished by drumming touches to emphasize the irrepressible bane arriving; delightful is the team work between bass and drums in a special passage in the middle of the song.
Although rich in flaws regarding pronunciation and grammar (the songs are all in English), I have to note that the singer is one of the best newcomers in the Black Metal scene, as he's able to sound frozen, evil and intelligible at the same time: a good example of my theory is in "My Ancient Spirits", where he also delivers guttural not artificial vocals coming directly from his opening coffin.
"Slaughters" doesn't contain growls but an ample array of Black Metal vocals; I love the rapid imaginative bass lines and the sword drawn before the structure creating a special atmosphere; and so do several vampiresque fugues that the guitar and the drum build after.
Darkthrone come to my mind in the martial "The Old Forest", full of vomited Black screams and other threatening vocals, a wolf's howl, and again the guitar player and the drums tag-team to satisfy any Black Metal afiocionado with class and strength.
The highlight of the Central American trio's songwriting is shown in "Cold and Dead Stone", where the lively variations, the stops 'n' go, the bell rings, the zombie's vocals and the ritual leader's vocals constitute the icy on the cake.
"In Solitude I Die" adds to the recipe even twice a HM riff that Iron Maiden fans will notice easily; this composition also adds two different ambience riffs that are unusual for Black Metal and prove that when they feel like the Central American horde can write very original stuff.
The remaining four bonus tracks are remasters from the recent "Under the Spell of the Spheres" EP: "Lord of the Morbid Ritual" is a scary, pitch-black composition, where the guitars are heavy or glacial as fuck depending on the moments; the vocals range from the choked Black/Death alà Dissection to the deep growl of a great deal of Death Metal bands, to recitative clean vocals not available elsewhere on this album. The blood-curdling bell ring and the mix of ritualistic noises and voices at the end complete the gloomy picture.
"Chaos Compass" is another interesting fast, raw, European-styled Black Metal gifted with traditional Black Metal rifferama (far from Death Metal this time), additional diabolic vocals and brilliant guitarwork;
unfortunately many artificial drum sounds, probably sampled, for sure unfit for this genre ruin the global effect, depriving the song of its impact. Granted, we're in front of a self-recording/mixing/mastering product, but the very fact the album doesn't suffer from this fault means the three-piece has learned from its mistake and delivered 11 songs professionally-sounding.
The longest track of the CD, "Serkes" evokes darkness to reveal all its ugly face; alternated with rapid blastbeats and riffs, other riffs decidedly closer to Heavy Metal reinforced by demonic groans in the background appear that confirm the vocalist got possessed during a pagan forest ritual or an oujia board session.
The closer "Sands of Oblivion" begins with morbid guitars, followed by a ton of other different riffs, all with their distinctive character, as well as a number of eclectic vocal styles all performed by the same member.
Considering that the 15 tracks reach 77 minutes' length, some might think that the compositions last more than due; this is not the case, since every passage offers key elements or at least has a meaning to be there and therefore can't be seen as the filler of the part of a song at all.
Perhaps the most tremendous achievement of "In Conspiracy with the Night" is its ability of creating malicious ethereal qualities of a multitude of genres without succumbing to the confines of any of them...Ancient Spheres seem intent on giving the listener a broad canvas of sound to work without appearing grandiose or tedious, and with "In Conspiracy with the Night" they succeed on every level of that intention. Utilizing the negative space of sound in a way that many other outfits would do well to pay heed to, the Costa Ricans have got pretty close to concocting a masterwork, easily placing themselves in a realm of music that will hard be defeated this year.
Line-up on this record:
Yeudiel Chacon - b., v. (also in Death Invocation, Genital Desmembration, ex-Belial Horde)
Raymondsz - d. (also in Death Invocation, Tears Losses, Burning Souls, Tyrant C.R.)
Adolfo Bejarano - g. (also in Inception, Astrozombies, The Coven (CRI), ex-Alastor Sanguinary Embryo, ex-Calle Dolores, ex-Estado Terminal, ex-Necro Souls Grinder)
Cartago - Costa Rica
Official site: www.ancientspheres.com
-Cold Winds from the North...Stacked in the Deepest Woodlands (EP - 2012)
-Tales of Suwoh (CD - 2013)
-In Conspiracy with the Night (CD - 2015)
-Under the Spell of the Spheres (EP - 2015)
- "Sands of Oblivion" on Oráculo Magazine: From The Shadows Vol.II (Sampler, Oráculo Magazine, 2015).
- "Dead Child" on Stillborn and Fucking Torn (Torn Flesh Records and Stillborn Twins Records, 2013).
- "Ethereal" on Central American Black Metal Conspiracy MMXV (CD, Nebula Forest and Nocturnal Entertaiment, 2015).