Please understand this document as a call for help from a doomed man. I have for over a year now been pressed into servitude against my will by the cruel Angry Metal Guy and his unjust and uncouth Minions, Steel Druhm and Madam X. I have suffered their lashes, their scorn, and their incessant corrections to my spelling and sentence structuring issues, which manifest as vast, malignant neoplasms of unwanted and unnecessarily complex clauses and phrases that tumble over each other like a shambling cohort of necrotic pangolins in a seemingly endless stream of superfluous verbiage contained inside otherwise comprehensible, orthographically and structurally pleasing paragraphs with appropriate references to Ulcerate when such references are necessary for the reader’s comprehension of the described music, or when the author feels he has nothing better to do than remind readers that regular exposure to nihilistic, atmospheric, brutal tech-death has a lasting positive effect on the humors. All this and more have I endured, yet these despots (primarily AMG) have yet to see fit to end my pain, charging me with yet another undignified task: the classification of Spheres [Specifically, the classification and ranking of spheres on heavy metal covers during the Year of Our Angry Overlord 2014 – AMG].
The goat’s head. The pentagram. The horns. Metal’s tropes know no death – unsurprising, given their occult origins. Yet one entity remains as persistent as the others, but far less well studied. The Sphere. Its origins unclear, the sphere has come to dominate the iconography of modern metal peoples across the globe, appearing on their dress, their wall-decorations, and most prominently, in the visual tributes to their diverse and often poorly-studied musical recordings. In his unholy obsession with cultural anthropology and perverse glee at the discovery of undergraduate labor, Angry Metal Guy has sent me to scour the archives in search of modern depictions of metal’s most revered Entity. Through intensive studies and many a sleepless night, I have persevered, collecting a broad sample of depictions with the goal of elucidating the true nature of this mysterious icon-being.
10: Iron Savior // Rise of the Hero
A rather typical representation of the Sphere, lingering behind the true action of the work. Mark the incredibly original blue/orange palette and the use of a clear good world/bad world dichotomy – tropes nearly as ancient, overdone, and unlikable as power metal itself!
9: Woman is the Earth // Depths
The unnamed reach for the promise of the Sphere, yet their hopes are all in vain, for contact with the Sphere is as impossible for the mortal as freedom for the slave, doomed to serve out his days writing reviews for immediately forgettable death metal under the heel of an Angry Tyrant.
8: Orange Goblin // Back from the Abyss
Notice the recursion of the Sphere: one lies inside another, yet both are inaccessible and inhospitable for the living. Notice that, no matter how long you stare into this image, it will always be staring back into you.
7: Insomnium // Shadows of the Dying Sun
This crude work depicts the Sphere’s influence on all truly metal objects. Recognize its attractive force on other tropes, which is proportional to the inverse square of the distance between them. See the black birds fly! Let them hear your rage!
6: Tombs // Savage Gold
The sphere is no stranger to the platonic solids, all of which it surpasses in both mystery and ubiquity. It cannot be contained by the powerless box which it rests in
5: Empire Auriga // Ascending the Solarthrone
In this depiction, the Sphere is shown as dual, simultaneously destroying and subsuming itself while shedding shrapnel that will in billions of years return to earth and give rise to Max Cavalera.
4: Sanctuary // The Year the Sun Died
This work depicts the same event as the one found on the face of Ascending the Solarthrone, the destruction of the Sphere. Truly, this is one of the most profoundly important events in the entire mythology of the Sphere and is found in countless works of album art.
3: Soreption // Engineering the Void
Streams of matter race towards the sphere as it draws all tropes in towards itself…
2: Endombed A.D. // Back to the Front
… the dismembered bodies from every slam cover ever made fly towards the sphere, coating it in their ineffectual grime as it approaches critical mass…
1: Origin // Omnipresent
… at last, the sphere has accrued all that is brutal, ballooning into a planet-sized mass of Lovecraftian horrors. But who is it that lies within?
Let us peer into its depths.
By God, it’s Jørn Lande! Of course! How could I have not realized that only one source in the universe is brootal and metal enough to call the sphere into its ubiquitous omnipresence! Gaze upon his Greatness and Despair!