Spektr - Cypher
5 February 2013

01. 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"


Written on 03.01.2013 by
Wormdrink's real name is George and he's an American.
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Apothecary - 03.01.2013 at 17:39  
From what you described, this album seems to be a lot like Blut Aus Nord's later industrial stuff, like MoRT and the 777 albums... I enjoyed them, personally, but as far as reception from the fanbase as a whole, it was very much a love it or hate it type of dichotomy. Ambient black metal can be interesting, even when it's more ambient than black metal (like Urfaust). Thanks for the review, will definitely give this peek
!J.O.O.E.! - 03.01.2013 at 17:51  
I wish I could hear a sample from this because, along with Diapsiquir, Spektr are just about the only French industrial BM band I dislike. Reverence pulled out a blinder last year after a pretty bland career so I'm wondering if Spektr could do the same.
thundercunt - 03.01.2013 at 22:03  
Shit dawg they logo look kickass
too bad they ain no vocal tho, a brotha need ta hear some scream in his black metal
i don lissen to much a dat ambient stuff, so i unno what it like
but i don think a brothas gonna check dis out, sorry

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