Band: Spectral Voice
Album: Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
Label: Dark Descent Records
Genre: Blackened Doom
Release Date: 13 October, 2017
This is some psychotic, suffocating metal here.
The assault begins right away, “Thresholds Beyond” chiming in with creepy guitar, slow drums, and those vocals that seemingly issue forth from the bowels of Hell itself. Slow, moody, dark, dark, dark, dreary, and offering no hope at all. Ever see the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Remember the opening, with that weird soundtrack, and the photos clicking, before the camera opens on the corpse sitting splayed on a tombstone? That’s kinda like what this song does. You just know, right away, this isn’t going to be pleasant. The drums and guitars kick in and soon it’s a blur of malcontent and guttural unhope.
And this is just the first song.
Things get bleaker as they go, the music bleeding darkness and despair. You can almost feel it leaking out of the amps and dribbling along the floor, some potent, diseased liquid full of misery and damnation. This is a relatively short album, five songs, about 45 minutes in length, but it feels much more epic, with heft and weight and did I mention misery?
The playing on this record is pretty exemplary. The guitars chime when they need to, arpeggio when appropriate, and rip when necessary. The drumming is muted but on purpose, I think. It’s good, really good, and that flat sound adds to the overall, grim effect of the music in total. The singing is what it is, which means good luck understanding a word without a lyric sheet, because it is bottom of the grave guttural. This isn’t an insult or a negative critique because this fits in perfectly with the sound this band is going for. Hell, it’s almost like an atmospheric keyboard layering it’s so potent.
Speaking of atmosphere, this one has it and has it in plenty. A bleak blanket of anguish and gloom. There is not one moment where you don’t feel like you’re a rotting corpse, lying in a dripping, wet cave, entombed for eternity, only your sins and failures to reflect upon. The strains of suffering echo eternally.
It’s heavy, too. This isn’t just some gothy swirl of dark emotions. Nope. This is the real deal. The songs pummel while at the same time remaining shadowy and fusty. I don’t know how they do this but they do it well. Impossibly well.
A song or two that struck my fancy:
“Visions of Psychic Dismemberment” is the epic on here, clocking in at 13 minutes. This one drives on and on and I felt like I was bouncing around inside the skull of a psychotic cadaver. You can feel, through the different movements of the song, the almost actual dismemberment of a person’s mind. Creepy voices echo, reflect, bounce off, and ripple through the music. It really is purely schizophrenic, and yet it all works together to form a cohesive whole. The song is composed of many parts, some long and slow and dissonant, others simply battering. It will grind to a crawl and then speed right back up. This is a scary song.
“Dissolution” starts out almost like a normal metal song, heavy and riffy, and then those evil, chiming notes come in and, oh yeah, here’s a reminder: there’s no escape. Double bass inserts itself and the blackened portion begins. And onward we rumble, the cymbal crashes really effective here, adding a layer of careening, crushing emotion. Three minutes in and it all lurches to a near-halt, the band doing their crusty doom thing to perfection. The ending of the song really does feel like things are breaking into pieces and dissolving, body parts floating in an acid bath before disappearing forever.
This is not an easy listen. If you are of the mind of grim things and bleak desolation, you’re going to find this one right up your alley. If you’re not, stay away. This album is a haunted house and this is your “Beware, Do Not Enter” warning. Because once you’re inside, you’ll find you’re trapped, with no way out, and the members of Spectral Voice will make sure this is the most grand, despairing listen of your life.
1. Thresholds Beyond
2. Visions of Psychic Dismemberment
3. Lurking Gloom
4. Terminal Exhalation
Total Playing Time: 44:45