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Spectral Lore: II

Clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, the second full length release from ambient black metal outfit Spectral Lore is one of finest examples of music in this genre that this reviewer has heard in quite some time. Sole member Ayloss has managed to successfully combine the harsh, misanthropic sounds of raging BM with lengthy acoustic and eerie ambient passages to create one hell of a chilling disc, and one which in my opinion represents the true ethos of the genre.

The showcase on II arrives early with the second track "The Thorns That Guide My Warpath" which is a multi faceted epic that clocks in at over twenty minutes. This number explodes in a flurry of tremolo picked guitar work, furious blast beats and ghostly whisper style vocals, which are offset frequently throughout the song with some splendid melancholic acoustic guitar sections. The track concludes with almost six minutes of gloomy and atmospheric sounding synths overtop an echolike drone. "Towards The Great Crossroad" is up next and this is another moody and lengthy track at nine minutes, with an emphasis on very precise and melodic, layered guitar playing together with some more symphonic keyboard work, eerie sound effects and muffled spoken word. With the exception of the opening track, the fourth song "Leaving The Stars Far Behind" is the not only the shortest, but also as far as instrumentation goes, probably the simplest in nature as well, awash in just over three minutes of layered dissonant guitar simmering over a simple electronic, percussive beat. This slams straight into the punishing sounds of "Recoiling Beneath The Waves" which is replete with buzzing and distorted guitar and frantic blast beats for the first three minutes, after which it totally breaks down into almost nine minutes of drone like soundscapes. "Through An Infinite Dreamscape" is a perfect blend of frenetic, high frequency guitar together with a dream like acoustic section towards the 2nd half of the track. "To Whither In Silence and Dismay" begins as a slow building song before shifting into harsher territory with faster tempos and tormented vocals. It eventually concludes in a cascade of buzzing electronics over a few simply placed, plaintive guitar notes. The final track is another brilliant ambient instrumental piece entitled "Where Nature Will Not Ever Yield To Man. This composition conjures up feelings of being alone with nature in a cold and desolate landscape. The icy sounding keyboards will linger with you long after the music has subsided.

In closing Spectral Lore's II is an absolutely mesmerizing and chilling piece of work and while it may take a few listens to fully digest; it quite simply should be considered essential listening.

There is no website, so if you are interested in obtaining a copy you'll have to contact the man responsible directly at spectral_lore@yahoo.gr

Track Listing
1) Introitus
2) The Thorns That Guide My Warpath
3) Towards The Great Crossroad
4) Leaving The Stars Far Behind
5) Recoiling Beneath The Waves
6) Through An Infinite Dreamscape
7) To Whither In Silence and Dismay
8) Where Nature Will Not Ever Yield To Man

Added: July 16th 2010
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Score:
Hits: 3141
Language: english

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Spectral Lore: II
Posted by Denis Brunelle, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-07-17 08:25:05
My Score:

Continuing on with those obscure promos from China, here is a 77 minutes epic long opus from Spectral Lore, simply called II. Here we have ,as illustrated on the cool cover painting, an album inspired by nature and its mystical properties, and a hint concerning the musical direction.


A mysterious artist simply known as A. is the only soul behind this project, another tip for the musical genre of this album. So, black metal arts is what II is all about. Not having information about this act, I can't say where the band took its inspiration, but I believe it is from various sources. I even suspect A. having classical guitar training, since the artist is mastering very well the arpeggios and various uses of these instruments. Music, as it should always be, is the most important and prominent element on this opus. Numerous musical breaks, often calmer ones with organic instrumentations, or the more ambient ones with keyboards are gracing this nice release. The vocals are discrete and ghostly with the raspy style of course. It's hard not to call a composition like "Towards the Great Crossroad" something else that a long lasting epic beauty, for it includes all the tasty parts described, besides clocking in at 24:40. Three instrumentals are included here, namely : "Introitus", "Leaving the Stars Behind", and "Where Nature Will not Even Yield to Man". The first one is a short acoustic number; the second presents a heavier edge with distorted guitars, while the last is a 7 minutes plus keyboard/ ambient piece. The fastest parts are rawer, and I believe no bass was use. I think a drum machine was also resorted to during the recording. All this remain of good black metal taste wit a bit of a cacophonic edge on the side.


To sum up, II is an atmospheric, adventurous, epic, mystical and intelligently written work of great black metal arts brought home by the talented multi-instrumentalist simply named A. Highly recommendable album.




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