Spectral Lore

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I (2006) , 5/10
II (2007), 5/10
Sentinel (2012), 6/10
III (2014), 7/10
Heterophotos (2021), 6/10
11 Days (2023), 4/10

One-man black-metal band Spectral Lore, the project of Greek multi-instrumentalist Ayloss, incorporated dark ambient motifs and acoustic instruments in black metal on I (2006) and II (2007), but the music is cliched and amateurish, especially when it drags on forever like in the 25-minute The Thorns that Guide my Warpath. Sentinel (2012) coined a kind of "cosmic" black metal, influenced by Blut Aus Nord, in All Devouring Earth and My Ascension Into the Celestial Spheres, and then indulged in the 30-minute ambient piece Atlus, which is not exactly groundbreaking. Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum collaborated on Sol (2013), which contains Spectral Lore's 26-minute Sol Medius.

The satori of Spectral Lore is the 90-minute double-disc III (2014), a collection of black metal with a lot of "non-metal". Drifting Through Moss and Ancient Stone ventures into gothic and ambient folk, and Cosmic Significance (13:51) even straddles Klaus Schulze's electronic symphonies. The Cold March Towards Eternal Brightness (14:42) ends with an anthemic refrain and three minutes of medieval liturgy. Another medieval motif pops up at the beginning of A Rider in the Lands of an Infinite Dreamscape (12:45) which then sinks into a lengthy musical depression before launching into a breathless gallop that still references the medieval motif. The Veiled Garden (16:32) absorbs dark ambient, Nordic folk and post-rock in one glacial, howling, manic composition.

Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum collaborated again on the two-hour triple-album Wanderers - Astrology of the Nine (2020), a concept album about the nine planets of the Solar System, basically the black-metal equivalent of Gustav Holst's "The Planets". Spectral Lore's main contribution is the twelve-minute Earth (The Mother), which does not rank among the best.

The 76-minute Heterophotos (2021) overstays its welcome. The main offendeer is the 19-minute Terean: again, third-rate ambient music. Nonetheless, the mood shift in The Sorcerer Above The Clouds is shocking and nerve-wrecking, possibly their best in seven years. Atrapos and Apocalypse are diligent but not spectacular bursts of black metal, with the latter's dissonant coda pointing at more exciting ideas, whereas the super-heavy doom-y riffs that end Heterophotos come too late to make sense.

11 Days (2023) contains only four songs, of which two are ambient pieces, and it's ostensibly a (protest) concept about the migrants who risk their lives in the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. It's mostly amateurish and dejavu.

(Copyright © 2024 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )