Spectral Lore/Locust Leaves
Split EP

Greece’s Spectral Lore rightfully (I hope) garnered  some attention with Sentinel, their magnificent third release that should put them on the black metal map. But it didn’t take long for Spectral Lore brainchild  Ayloss to get right back to business  by way of a fucking excellent split with fellow Greeks, Locust Leaves.I’m not usually one to gush over EP, especially one only containing 2 songs, but this hand numbered, card case release limited to 300 copies is one of those collector rarities that is a must have for fans of Spectral Lore and their style of epic, regal black metal, as both tracks are superb.

The two songs, Spectral Lore‘s 15-minute  “Duty” and Locust Leaves’  11-minute “Promise” are conceptually and thematically linked, and also share a similar style. First off, I have to say that “Duty” is one of my very favorite and most complete songs of the year, if not the past few. It continues where Sentinel Left off, but is less ‘spacey’, and delivers and even more epic and melodic sound. The vocals seemed a little more shrieked (early In the Woods?) and up front and guitars are a little more shrill, but it’s still perfectly suited to the material and actually allow the many melodies  and layers to breathe. Quite simply, the last few chords of the ‘main’ rousing riff are utterly gorgeous and the subtle bass lines strumming under everything add an Ulver -esque tone to things. However, the song’s last 3-4 minutes are where things get truly impressive. After a mid song atmospheric/acoustic/spoken word break, Ayloss breaks into a more militant but melodic section (that dare I say reminded me of Liturgy) before closing out (at 9:55  and 11:29) the song with arguably a few minutes of some of the most gorgeous, epic melody I’ve heard this year. Its so truly breathtaking and uplifting it brings tears to my eyes and is one of those moments in music you wished never ended.

You’d think Locust Leaves would be intimidated by such a track, and in my opinion they do play second fiddle, but “Promise” is actually almost as impressive. The band’s style is a little more angular and experimental, but seems to meld well with the theme of the EP and even Spectral Lore‘s track. Its got a little more oopmh in the production, especially the drums and some deeper vocals, but its still pretty epic stuff that has a black/death metal vibe and some very nice melodies also going on. Its not quite as sweeping and regal, and has a Fleurety styled melodic discordance, but it is a very interesting, alluring track, especially the lengthy ambient break about 3 1/2 minutes in. When the track does kick back in, its pretty damn epic in it own, restrained right.

I’m definitely looking forward to any future release from Locust Leaves and most certainly Spectral Lore. Rotting Christ and Septicflesh can rest easy as as it looks like epic, esoteric  Greek black metal is in very competent hands.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 19th, 2012


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