Sunday, January 6, 2013

Spektr - Cypher

1. Hermetism
02. Teratology
03. The Singularity
04. Solitude
05. Antimatter
06. Solve Et Coagula
07. Cypher
08. Decorporation
09. Le Vitriol du Philosophe

Something (probably the wine) about France seems to facilitate experimentation more regularly than the various something's about other countries. This album, an industrial-tinged instrumental black metal disc, suitingly for a French band, belongs on the list of French experimentalisms.

"Experimental" here doesn't mean that what these guys do isn't like what others before them have done, it just means that these guys avoid clichés and heard-it-a-thousand-times-before-isms like my old French uncle-in-law avoids toothbrushes and dentists (and American sports... guy's a prick). What they do sounds distinctly like their own music, not like a rehash of old Darkthrone, say, or Emperor, or Mayhem. A good thing for a modern black metal band for the most part.

One of the more noticeable reasons for this is the absence of vocals. Screeches and the like seem to complement the anger and hatred that black metal captures so well and all, but this album isn't entirely a vehicle for misanthropy, coldness and whatnot; it's about the atmosphere, man, the hazy, wobbly, drugged and demented atmosphere. And on a track-by-track basis, the absence of vocals never feels too important, especially considering how well the instruments on this are played.

That said, considering the length of the tracks and the tedium of the ambient passages, the lack of vocals does seem to be an important missing ingredient when listening to this from start to finish. It all gets boring. Like, really boring. After the ambient bits, a well placed and sincere sounding screech or growl would seem more than fitting. But they never come, and the ambient parts do. A lot.

The unbalanced psychedelic guitar and bass work fits perfectly with the really excellent drumming, but the overall feel of the album is also unbalanced--in a bad way. It feels like stretched out periods of monotony punctuated by brilliant little black metal explosions.

Stand-out song: "Teratology"


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