The Intersphere – The Grand Delusion

Review | How real is reality? For austrian psychologist Paul Watzlawick, every so-called reality is a construction of those who believe that they’ve discovered and explored it. The assumption that only one reality existed would be the grand delusion of humanity. With their new album, German alternative/progressive rock band The Intersphere take the discussion to musical grounds.

Topics like perception of reality, consumerism and society lay the foundations for the songs that make up the colour palette of their fifth studio-album. Prior to the release, the singles served as forerunners of the album’s general theme. Dealing with individuals questioning their own reality, danceable rhythms come upon an energetic breakdown in Mind over Matter. Additionally, first single Secret Place illustrates the problem of today’s fast-paced society in which it’s hard to find the time and space for creativity. The yearning for creative calm underlays Christoph’s vocals. The marching drums in the middle of the song strongly remind of the cadence of individuals, which are then pulled out of their misery by the intro-riff. Varying from ominous silence to hard metal-guitars, lead single Antitype lines up perfectly. By drawing a bow between different spectrums, the band constantly presents us their ability to experiment.

Demonstrating what’s possible musically

On the whole, a wide range of musical components is offered to the listener. With a fuzzy bass and a straight-forward rock chorus, Overflow sounds like something that Incubus would’ve come up with for their next album. Strings and piano bits and pieces in Man On The Moon create a listening experience that is rich in variety. Furthermore, opener Don’t Think Twice as well as New Maxim convince with well applied and up-beat structures.

Apart from being a generally heavy band, they show their capability to write mainstream music in the ballad Linger, without giving in to the temptation to fall for the genre. When the balance is on a tipping point, they return to their s.o.b.p.– roots such as in title track The Grand Delusion, Smoke Screen and You Feel Better When I Feel Bad.

Closing track Shipwreck moves the musical events to the electronic world. Through the connecting of attuned guitars and electronic sounds, the listener is granted a final ear candy before he finds himself alone in his perceived reality again.

A logical step in the band’s development

With The Grand Delusion, The Intersphere have created a diverse record which synthesizes multifarious styles, creating its own reality as it unfolds. No matter if it’s math-rock, metal, pop or electronic – everything’s technically adept. Drums and bass fit perfectly together, the guitar sounds have no rivals and Christoph’s vocals keep everything under control. Overall, the album fits seamlessly into their discography, giving us the sound that we like about The Intersphere without big surprises.

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Artwork taken from JPC.de

Career: An illusive concept?

Like a virus, it infests our youth. Shielded from the public and almost invisible, it’s basically everywhere you look: Career pressure.

Especially young students seem to feel it enormous. Working through the weekend became a normality. The time not being available for family and hobbies isn’t worth mentioning. To live for the job or university has been established as common or even prestigious.

Show performance. Keep up. Being better. The baton of our generation. Like books and parties, mental illnesses now belong to the average students’ daily life. Anti-depressants are consumed like harmless cough candy during exams and fear constantly smiles from the table next to you.

Pursuing a career – At what price?

With the dream of a big career in sight, we navigate through school and working life just like a donkey having a carrot hanging in front of his snout. We say “someday, all stress will be gone. I will earn my money and everything will be alright.” Therefore, the illusion of many is that they can continue like that forever. Incautious victims stumble into working life after just having stood at graduation, being sure that “what worked until now will work just fine”. They throw the good resolutions for a life without stress overboard and unpack the boxing gloves for the daily struggle of power. Soon the individual realizes that it is not comfortable with the fight over the next step of the career ladder.

Doubt arises, whether the path they pursued is the right one. Soon, the old behaviour patterns are back again. While psyche reports back, the dusty anti-depressants are looking compelling from the medicine cabinet and fear is standing at the front door, about to move back in again.

Restricted by the hamster wheel

Is the notion of career a construct to keep us in the rat race? Certainly, it looks like it. At least it seems to lead young people into developing competitiveness early on. To put the own advantage into the core of daily action becomes an omnipresent norm. Has someone reached the point of no return in his job, it’s difficult to escape the mill. Whether many recognize themselves in the mirror then is questionable.

Nowadays, the concept of career resonates a clear reference to work. As soon someone meets new people, one of the first questions is “And what do you do?” in respect to the exerted job. Rarely, we hear people talk about a “career as a dad” or “career as a cleaner”. After all, these are no careers, they say.

A social rethinking of career is necessary

We need to distance ourselves from the notion of career to move towards the personal ambition in the life of humans. In short, we need less of “next year I’ll be head of department” and more of “next year I want to have enough time with my family” or “next year, I’ll write a book”.

I mean, what’s the purpose of having a career and a prestigious job without having your loved ones supporting you? Why should someone put his time consuming working life in the first place behind the people and passions he loves so much?

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels.

Somewhere in the depths of consciousness, many realize that they had been living in a matrix. A prison for the mind which lets them drown in the routine of daily life to distract from the important things.

The cautious have the choice to decide between the red and the blue pill. Red means everything is staying the same – work, small amount of leisure time, stress. Blue brings salvation from daily struggles, more time for family, friends and passions. Which one would you take?

What’s left to say

Career may show us one of the possible paths. Nevertheless, the individual should always remember, that it’s not the only one to take to be happy in the end. Deep in the heart, truth lies. Knowing that you don’t need to define yourself over a career is crucial. Actually, you don’t have to define yourself at all. Definitions are forever changeable, and so are we.

Feature image by Craig Adderley from Pexels.

Read also:
Minimalism at work, Comparing Yourself to Others

Architects – Holy Hell

Review | As drummer Dan Searle correctly stated it: Pain is a part of life. While growing from it, we learn our lessons and often, something wonderful comes out of it. In this case, it is ARCHITECTS’s new and 8th studio album Holy Hell. More than two years after their genius work All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us and the aftermath of losing founding member Tom Searle, the band from Brighton UK was reborn with new strength.

Accepting Tom’s inheritance

Opening track Death Is Not Defeat takes up the thread that has been spun in All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us and left with Memento Mori. With its orchestral elements, the track offers a familiar sonic image added by powerful guitar work and lyrics. Continued by Hereafter, the general sound offers a seamless transition from All Our Gods, giving us the characteristic sound that made the band one of the best acts in Britain. The hymnic song combines electronic elements with outstanding guitars, adequately defining the album’s general style.

Overall, hope and despair are fighting for supremacy withing the album.  Expressed through bright and dark moments as in Mortal After All and Holy Hell, high melodies and contrasting riffs constantly question the mortality of mankind. Images of the soul surviving the human body after death are drawn. A spiritual component has been added to the songs, providing a compass to navigate through chaos.

The tracks can be characterized by powerful lyrics supported by great guitar work. With a main riff that could easily be on the next Deftones album, Royal Beggars is a paragon of the band setting course for their future. The characteristic sound becomes acquainted with new elements, both converging as the song takes shape. Lyrically, the verses are carried smoothly until the chorus crashes in, giving us an aggressive but powerful vocal performance. Similar but different, third single Modern Misery has aggressive elements to it without losing its melody throughout the track. The catchy lead guitar carries Sam Carter’s voice while being underpinned by a harrowing bass.

With Damnation, Dying To Heal and The Seventh Circle, listeners get a wide picture of the whole musical spectrum the band has to offer. Last year’s single Doomsday, which was co-written by Tom, provides a familiar soundscape defined by great clean vocals and an engraving chorus. Varying from silent parts to wide tapestries of sound, closing track A Wasted Hymn depicts a ballad that leads the album to its resolution with a shimmer of hope, shining out of the battlefield that hope and despair have left behind.

A band in transition

Thematically, the themes have stepped away from social and environmental topics to make way for the personal. Dealing with the passing of Tom and drawing hope and inspiration out of it has been the blueprint for the album that became Holy Hell. Like death itself, it has more than one metaphorical level. It’s dark and brutal, yet leaves room for the beautiful. Without being a religious album, it surely has a spiritual level shining out from between the songs.

It’s astonishing how ARCHITECTS took their grief, dealt with it and created something that was never there before. However someone likes Holy Hell, it simply cannot be ignored what this band went through. Coming up with an album of that caliber is something that everyone has to respect, no matter what. They made the best out of their situation and created something wonderful. Something that Tom would have been deeply proud of.

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