“Spheron” is a young death metal band from Ludwigshafen, Germany. They have succeeded to achieve a global recognition in a very short time with their first full length album “Ecstasy of God”, out on “Apostasy Records”. This album marks a band truly confident of their sound, and experts in their genre. It’s rare that a band shows such high level of cohesiveness only on their first release. Bass player and lyricist Matthias Minor took some time to share thoughts about “Ecstasy of God”. He goes amazingly in depth in the interview and sheds some light on what it was like making one of the best death metal albums of 2013.
Congrats on releasing such a strong album as “Ecstasy of God”. As a relatively young band are you surprised by all the positive and encouraging attention you've received thus far? I wouldn't say we're surprised about the positive reactions in general, because we really took our time to get “Ecstasy of God” as close to our expectations as possible, but still we're quite impressed about how many people reacted on it and how far the message about it has spread. We're still February 2014 I Milfits 'zine
a young band, as you already said, and no one can expect a band's first full length album to be widely noticed from the very beginning. I guess it's due to the hard work of our new label “Apostasy Records” that our album did get so much attention anyway. What did you set out to accomplish as a band with “Ecstasy of God”? Maybe you'll be disappointed to hear, but actually we don't spend too much time on thinking about our goals as a band. At least we don't have any
revolutionary and farsighted ambitions such as “Let's become the most technical band on earth!” or “Let's give the word 'Death Metal' a whole new meaning!”. “Ecstasy of God” is a rather spontaneous product of our creativity. The music was written with care, but it's not meant to “accomplish” anything. Of course we wanted to show our stuff around to let people know about our work, and of course we wanted to present it as good as we could, but I don't think there is much more behind it. Could you please describe the implications of the title “Ecstasy of God”? All the lyrics on the album deal with man's need to devote himself to a higher principle, or in other words, to a god in a metaphorical (and actual) sense. This devotion is like an ecstasy: illusive, but still clarifying, calming, but destructive, needed by many, though necessary to no one. Each song tries to deconstruct another “god” of man, such as subjectivity, perception, science, moral, aesthetics and (not only, but also) religion. We kind of stole the phrase “Ecstasy of God” from our friends from “Deadborn” as a tribute to their great music, and because it matched perfectly well with the leading concept behind our lyrics.
with your musical vision? Even though we're damn proud of our cover artwork, the whole layout story was surely the biggest problem of the whole production. We were desperately searching for an artist, who was able to visualize the atmosphere of our music, but most of the art samples just looked like typical death metal clichés or uncreative copies from other bands. We even tried to let Daniel paint his own artwork for us, but despite his awesome painting skills he could not really convince all of us. Months after the actual recording we finally saw Eliran Kantor's art on the internet and knew: “He's going to make it!”. And I have to say, his way of working is brilliant. After we had engaged him, he did not need any instructions or corrections at all, he just studied our lyrics and came up with a great concept inspired by the biblical myth of the golden calf combined with post apocalyptic and dystopic influences. His clever and creative interpretation of our music absolutely completed our conceptual package, adding a whole new perspective to it. We just had to take his cover.
Your tracks are bursting with different riffs and progressions. Is it a natural byproduct of your individual tastes and influences? Thanks for the What can you tell us about the cover ByProduct! artwork for “Ecstasy of God”? How compliment. That sounds as if the ideas did you get in touch with Eliran just fell down from our ingenious asses Kantor? How does his artwork fit while we're sitting on the toilet. 26
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Unfortunately we still have to think about what we're doing and our songwriting in the group mainly consists of some kind of trialand errorprocess. But still I would say that our musical brain Tobias A., who writes around 90% of our music, has a very natural and spontaneous style of composing. He often “finds” the riffs on the guitar before writing them down and of course his fingers often just play variations of what they have learned so far. So yes, to some extent his musical influences just sneak into the songs without being planned. Maybe your impression that our album is full of different styles is just a result of Tobias's wide ranged playing experience. What bands and albums are you personally listening to most often? What would someone be surprised to find in your music collection? Well, with these questions I can only speak for myself, but right now I'm totally into the music of “Vektor”, who have the most creative and innovative way of playing I've heared the last two years. Also I'm absolutely captivated by “Exivious” who gave a perfect response to the music of my beloved “Cynic”, especially concerning the bass playing. Apart from that my all timefavourites are bands like “Ahab”, “Obscura”, “Deadborn”, “Opeth”, “Necrophagist”, “Behemoth”, “Death”, but also “Moonsorrow”, “Enslaved”, February 2014 I Milfits 'zine
“Dark Fortress”, “Melechesh”, and all that boring metal legends (sorry to those, who wanted to see something new here). Maybe the most surprising thing for a fan of “Spheron” is my love for the orchestral music of Frank Zappa, who is extremely undererstimated in this genre. The
was produced by Christoph Brandes (“Iguana Studios”), what made him the perfect producer for “Spheron”? How did his work enhance the nature of your sound? Christoph was definitely indispensable for the whole product “Ecstasy of God” as it can be heared now. Without his passion and experience I think most of our ideas on the album would just sound uninspired and unemotional, but as he primarily worked for the final result and not just to get the work done, it feels like there is even more ideas on the album than we put into it. Also Christoph was perfectly able to find a brilliant compromise between a harsh, technical sound and a warm, atmospheric sound, which is basically Spheron's sound desire number one. I guess we couldn't be more satisfied. How much important has been also Tomasz Wisniewski from “Apostasy Records” in the development of “Spheron”? Tomasz is the main reason for our
album to be so widely appreciated and maybe also the reason why you can read this interview right now. Even though “Ecstasy of God” is really something to be proud of, I don't think anyone apart from our live audience would even know about it, not to mention how many gigs we would not have played. If we did anything right in our short musical “career”, then it was working with “Apostasy Records”. German extreme metal scene has been always good. Actually, many German death metal bands are doing well and are well recognized throughout the underground. Do you think German death metal scene is getting better nowadays? Yes, Death Metal is definitely getting more professional, more innovative, and more selfreflected nowadays, but I would say that this is rather a global phenomenon and not only limited to Germany. The technical developments in sound engineering, amplification and recording combined with the improved spreading of information via new forms of internet made it possible to give such a small musical genre enough possibilities to exceed its own standards. Maybe Germany as a highly developed country benefits from these innovations a little more than a few others, but I don't believe we have an exclusively national trend here. . Promotional videos are always good tools for getting band promoted. Do you think “Spheron” might consider shooting a video next? We're currently thinking about making a music video, but we must still evaluate our technical possibilities and we also haven't decided about what 28
could be seen on it. I mean, the internet is full of boring clips with headbanging guitar players in an old factory hall. Let's see if we can make the world a little better by avoiding such a crap. Now that you've released “Ecstasy of God”, what will your next move be? As you may have guessed, we're already working on the next album right now, which is going to be more atmospheric, more aggressive and even a little catchier. Pseudodeepminded as ever the lyrics will be about the predetermined nature of the universe. Hopefully you won't have to wait another three years for it. Promising artwork designers wanted. Is there anything you want to say to close this up? Thank you for this very interesting interview and the support in “Spheron”!
February 2014 I Milfits 'zine