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Spektr – Cypher


There are but a few whom have delved deep within the shadows.

As memory serves me, Spektr have always been a peculiar act.  This has not changed; they have simply dove deeper into depravity, screaming at us from the abyss. For the first album in seven years, since Near Death Experience, they have had ample time to truly understand who they are as individuals and as musicians. Seven years is a long time, and the austere studies into the occult are more obvious than ever, creating an album mature in approach and subject matter.

Things began with a hollow intonation, an opening statement of intent, dedicated strangely to the “chidren”, and then suddenly, a drum rhythm that had jazz timings and seemed to blend all the worlds of the Qabbalah with the Qliphoth. Descending from Yesod they entered the Shell of Samael, speaking truths which only the shadows reveal.

It is difficult to discern which are the interludes, as they often exist within a track. These parts which some may think are the space between the songs seem to be the universe in which Cypher is created, while the aspects that fit the metal stereotypes are few and far between.  Very little exists vocally, the album relies mainly on an ambience created from guitars and the jazz inspired drums, along with spooky noises and ghastly hypnotic eruptions. When the vocals do exist, they are distant and truly apparition-like.  Much of this consists of austere spiritual coagulations, at times dissolving back into the primal Self which seems to consist of a recognizable musical structure. The last two tracks are both short, and are merely ambient. It is not a difficult task to see this French duo leaving the world of metal behind. I bid them adieu, as it becomes clear by the end of this that, while certain aspects hold strength, it is in the moody atmosphere that the impure ferocity lays. The metal aspects themselves, it seems, may be the interludes.

Switching between the worlds, at times calm and methodical, suddenly verbose and exquisite, this is a proverbial continuation of Bauldelaire’s Litanies to Satan and a drug-induced frenzy. One outside of the world of metal would think this to be a soundtrack to some strange Sci-fi movie, highly tinged with references to alchemy and the occult. Spektr have not made an album easily accessible to the average mind. Guitars seem to dissipate into themselves, semantically fading into the void. Much of this sounds like it belongs in a David Lynch film, and it is safe to say they have made an album which transposes the limitations of its genre. The only remnants of the aforementioned are in the guitars’ majestic invocation of dawn. Just remember, it is always darkest…

For many years this band has been one I have returned to. Quite literally, they are one of but a few that would fall under the Black Metal label that still remained in the jewel case, while everything else has been disposed of or slipped into a binder. Cypher refreshes my initial adoration of this particular act, which, within the over-used and absurd imitators, have stood apart from a scene that has grown quite unbearable. It never was, after all, the genre as a whole that interested me, rather it was bands such as this in particular.

The intention is to inform the listener of other worlds, to quote the song “The Singularity”, a Fifth Dimension. These invocations to different planes of existence will impact the listener on both an audible and spiritual level, enforcing its will on all who dare to truly listen. What rests dormant beneath the layers is a realm of awakening through the process of dissolution, a Dragon Rouge awaiting the spell.

Track List:

01) Hermetism
02) Tetratology
03) The Singularity
04) Solitude
05) Antimatter
06) Solve et Coagula
07) Cypher
08) Decorporation
09) Le Vitriol du Philosophe

Rating: 4/5
Written by: Patrick Bertlein
Label: Agonia Records (Poland) / ARlp094 / CD, 12″ LP
Ambient Black Metal / Post-black Metal