Spectral Lore – III (I, Voidhanger)

Sunday, 20th April 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Bigger is sometimes better. For Greek maestro Ayloss III has been a long time coming and it shows, it’s absolutely bursting at the seams with ideas and grand gestures. Spread across two discs and a near hour and a half of sweeping blasts, soaring quasi-orchestral flourishes, and all the progressive flavor you could ever hope to hear in a black metal release and some of which you’d never consider. It’s not an easy listen, likely no more than it was an easy creation, but for those willing to brave the depths of this staggering release, III offers much and more.

Opener “Omphalos” is the only track here that comes in under ten minutes and its consequently the most straight forward, featuring only a tempo break after the halfway mark before jumping into a sea of melancholic melodies. Everything else runs between 11 and 16 and features a wealth of facets, moods, and musical motifs that rarely sit still and despite being black metal at the core, rarely sit still with that framework for much of their running. “The Veiled Garden” (the longest piece) bounces between some of the most furious pieces on the album and arguably the quietest, juxtaposed frequently against one another before giving way to a melodic march riddled with some fantastic bass work.

Second disc standout “A Rider Through The Lands of An Infinite Dreamscape” could not have a more fitting title, scorching in its pace and beholden to an obscene number of melodic flourishes through its many phases, especially the final ‘rush’ near the latter third of the song, something that must be experienced for words cannot do it proper justice.

Progressive in every sense and a surprisingly breezy listen despite its girth, III is an easy album to recommend. Though easy to do so it still pays repeatedly to never judge a band by its many outside classifications, for once you peel back the propaganda of bio-sheets and fandom, there remains only the music within to judge and in this, this long-gestating and mighty III, the music says it all. This is enormous, this is awesome.

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