Spectral Lore
Sentinel

Much like The Great Old Ones‘ release, Al Azif, Sentinel the third release from Greece’s Spectral Lore is an awesome black metal surprise that mixes a multitude of recognized black metal styles and tropes, notably Memoria Vestusta II era Blut Aus Nord, Krallice and other more ambient, experimental and otherwordly black metal.

Even with a cold, distant, atonal approach to the overall aesthetic, there’s an epic atmosphere to Sentinel that’s reflected in the cover art and album title. Its alien yet regal and hypnotic as the albums lengthy songs deliver a regal mix of shrill, spatial, discordant riffs, cosmic atmospheres and an ancient extraterrestrial intellect that’s far beyond black metal once basic, primal sounds.

Much like the bands mentioned in the opening paragraph, Spectral Lore‘s Sentinel  isn’t a quick, simple listen, and won’t quickly satiate a need for riffs or catchy moments. It’s a deep space journey that cold, calculating yet beautiful once you sit back and take it all in.  It doesn’t quite have the menace or ritualistic throb of Blut Aus Nord, but the same clinical, backwards riffing and swirling, discordant majesty as the Memoria Vestusa releases. Those riffs (and there’s plenty of them)  are littered with moment of quite, cosmic ambiance that while, not foreboding, pulse with the patient resolve of space.

The opening track, “All Devouring Earth”  comes from the speakers with the jarring tones of shattering glass, rather than a long build up, but delivers plenty of starry introspective in its middle and latter stages. However, stand out second track “The Dejection of Arjuna” is where Spectral Lore really grabs me with a display of brittle but epic riffery that’s simply mesmerizing. The albums shortest cut,  “The Coming Of Age” has a more serpentine, twisted pace that’s reigned in, but labyrinthine, even with a contorted expulsion and understated synths here and there. The next two 10 minute plus tracks, “Quest for the Supramental” (with its gorgeous opening few minutes) and “My Ascension to the Celestial Spheres” are sheer bliss, with some stunning cosmic riffs and when combined with the distant shrieks and bellows, make for a sublime 20 minutes.

However, the album does have one downfall, the 30 minute (yes 30) closing instrumental track “Atlus (A World Within a World”, is a pointless endeavor of whirrs, beeps hums, waves, whales and winds.  I get the need to try and create windswept martian sound scapes, but here it amounts to no more than the back ground music at a New Age Spa. Of course that’s why we invented the ‘skip’ button, so it does not ruin the journey, but its  a blemish on an otherwise captivating album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 14th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: denial

    The last track is quite typical of the band and the label.


  2. Commented by: jesisjones

    I agree its prety standard to hear that kind of thing one these guys records,most of theirblabelmates,thats all they do.


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