Spectral Lore – Sentinel
Posted by Terrible Certainty Zine
Sentinel is the third effort from Spectral Lore, or more accurately from Ayloss, the moniker Chris Daritsis dons for his one-man black metal machine. I’ve heard loads of these independent one-man black metal records—more often than not they’re round-filed. This one’s the real deal.
Spectral Lore seems to serve up a dense, chaotic black metal in the vein of Deathspell Omega. Furious dissonant shards of riffing clatter against and contradict well-programmed rhythms, in a cavernous, noxious darkness. I said “seems to” because Spectral Lore pulls one hell of a bait and switch. Sentinel is an experimental and heavily layered work that is nearly always both in harmony and conflict with itself, both in style and element. Instrumentation and vocals layer both atop and across one another, and the album ranges from its caustic, modern black metal to a more traditional approach and even some symphonic and nearly folkish melodies. Tracks like “All Devouring Earth” and “The Dejection of Arjuna” overpower with tumultuous agitation. But chaos gives way to some surprisingly cogent melodies. “Quest for Supramental” in particular has a stretch of quasi-Eastern march that could fit in as a moody interlude on a Melechesh or Nile album, while “The Coming of Age” wields a traditional black metal melodic grandeur. Nearly every song is stretched on its back side to allow for devolution into rippling ambience.
Sentinel is a complex effort that should find love with fans of Deathspell Omega, Leviathan, and Blut Aus Nord. That said, it’s also a weighty bastard, clocking in at 75 minutes long, although half an hour of it is made up of the final, EP length ambient closer, aptly titled “Atlus – A World Within a World.” The album could do with a bit of editing to carefully prune bits of the repetitively atmospheric stretches while retaining the album’s admirable reach.
That minor criticism aside, Spectral Lore does nearly everything right. The drums in particular have an excellent amount of variety and imagination, which one-man outfits typically struggle to accomplish. The recording was done at Daritsis’ own Steller Auditorium, and the album boasts a clean, lush production suitable for a release on one of the bigger labels. Further, the artwork on the cover and insert, and the lyrics are also all first rate. Basically, Spectral Lore is ready and deserving of a serious look from quality labels.
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Posted on November 13, 2012, in Review and tagged Black Metal, Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, Leviathan, Melechesh, Metal Album Reviews, Nile, Spectral Lore, Terrible Certainty. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.