“This should not be seen as a gathering of two humans playing music, for it doesn’t simply stand for “music” but a real Communication between an incarnated being and vibrations coming from a non-manifested paradigma where the Essence of what has suffered thousands of incarnations and names wanders eternally through the halls of it’s last breath.”

This quote comes from a description by Spektr member “K” of their critically acclaimed last full length, Near Death Experience. Those unfamiliar with the band will probably connect the description with the sound rather quickly. If you’re interested in ephemeral, experimental, occult black metal a la Murmuure or Finnish powerhouses Oranssi Pazuzu, this record is almost certainly for you.

Spektr has been constructors of odd, industrial tinged black metal weirdness for just about 10 years, and though their last full length was 7 years ago, they seem to have honed their sound to a sharper point on Cypher without losing a step. There must be something in the water in France, or more likely, the Absinthe, because the French have been pushing the boundaries of Black Metal for quite a while. Blut Aus Nord is the most obvious comparison when talking about Industrial Black Metal, and France, but it feels like Spektr exists on a slightly different plane. There is more dark ambiance here. The place they hail from is colder, darker.

The signature blend of Dark Ambient and Industrial-ish Black Metal at play here is presented in the first 20 minutes, where Spektr blast away with all of the weapons in their arsenal. All of this in just the first 3 songs. The opener “Hermetism”, is a breathy, taut, quiet, noisy number that lets you know this album is more Black Magick than Black Metal. Second track “Teratology”, after some warped synth, opens with a rolling, ride heavy, jazz oriented drum riff that leads way into the first bit of grinding Black Metal. Heavily modulated and distorted guitars buzz to life and showcase what is in store for the next 40 minutes of the album or so. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, you hear almost all Spektr has to offer. Grandiose blossoms of Black Metal savagery, interspersed with cold ambient passages, the drum machine lending to the frozen aesthetic. “The Singularity”, the third track off of Cypher begins with more ambient madness and slowly crescendos into further modulated chainsaw riffs. 5 minutes into the 8 minute song, Spektr brings out the delay and tremolo and slows things down for one of the more interesting passages of the album. The distortion fades away to reveal the sounds of machinery, and more of the sampling that they seamlessly interweave. This is not to say this record is without its imperfections.

The first three songs show everything that the band has to offer on Cypher, the rest of the album just sort of expounds on the same theme. No need to do a track by track breakdown, it’s all lather / rinse / repeat the above paragraph. It is just a bit too similar all the way through to be their defining moment. But it could be coming. Haemoth and his compatriot K. need to focus, and reign in some of the spastic transitions of LOUD / quiet / LOUD, and concentrate on blending their sections seamlessly together. If they could only accomplish this next time around, I’m betting it will be their magnum opus.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick E
July 11th, 2013


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    oh my god, this song I have on starts with some scary silent hill jazz. I think i dismissed this band years ago. what was my problem?

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