Spektr – Cypher (Agonia Records)

Sunday, 28th April 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

The prospect of an instrumental black metal album opens up the floodgates for asinine comments. Like, “The vocals are usually so bad in black metal, I already feel like I wish I was listening to an instrumental album!” Or, “Ihsahn’s vocals were so buried on Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, that I was positive it was all-instrumental!” While there is some truth to how insignificant vocals are to the black arts, few have actually ventured out into instrumental territory. France’s Spektr are giving it a whirl, and on Cypher (their third full-length), psychedelic black metal is definitely in the hazy house.

Sonically, one can draw instant comparisons to Italy’s Aborym. Attila Cishar’s previous involvement notwithstanding, the industrial buzz and molten sheen of mechanized black metal is what the Italians did best, as heard on their cult Kali Yuga Bizarre and Fire Walk with Us. Spektr isn’t that much different, utilizing a cloak of ambiance to rattle home their message of cold, warped darkness. One will find some takeaways in the buzzing “Antimatter,” as well as the stop-start dynamics of “The Singularity,” which is probably the strongest cut of the lot.

Through the mess of overly-distorted guitars, programmed drums, and audio samples, Cypher manages to pull its own weight. It volleys between the aforementioned Aboyrm, as well as Satryricon’s more militarized moments, all the while keeping some annoying dude off the microphone. The same message gets put across anyway.

Spektr on Myspace