Where can someone begin with an album of this magnitude? From the start would be the best place. Spectral Lore’s III runs for barely under 1.5 hours, taking up 2 discs. To appreciate it properly, you need to hear the whole thing in its entirety (at least once).
What we have in III are 7 tracks that could each just about complete an entire side of a record. And each one is a unique creation that flows with the other tracks. However, they also work independently as complete songs, so you can play a single track if that’s all you have time, or desire, for.
“Drifting through Moss and Ancient Stone” (track 4) is an enigmatic acoustic song. It creates imagery of the title perfectly. Imagine yourself afloat on waves of air, passing across an ancient site of stone and moss; everything is new and wondrous, but you feel at peace in the moment. This is not an acoustic ‘interlude’ track, to divide up the other tracks — this is a beautiful song that can stand alone.
And then we are presented with the power of “The Spiral Fountain” (track 5). It’s a metal ballad to match most others. There are times when something’s so good that it’s almost painful and, for me at least, this is one of those moments. The song doesn’t drift along with its gusto; it builds to a shining zenith!
The final song, “Cosmic Significance” (track 7), sounds like primal, ancient, 60′s, and futuristic music — in one track. The keyboards dance inebriated melodies while the percussion is free to flow in tow, and by the time the guitars have come in at around the halfway point, everything has grown so much larger — more cosmic! The track peaks in a brilliant melodic black metal style, and then the internationally familiar harmonica sound seems to bring us back from space and down to Earth, so the keyboard motif from the beginning can complete the song and the album.
As the last sounds faded out at the end of my first listen, I asked myself if I’d actually heard this album. It seemed too much to be real. So, this review might seem biased, but that can’t be helped; the music moves us the way it will, and Spectral Lore has created a necessary piece of music with III.
Genre: Black Metal
Release: April, 2014
Label: I, Voidhanger Records
- Ayloss – All Instruments, Vocals
Written by Michael Kaltenbrunner