Recording information: 2014-2015.
The blackened French industro-ambient metal duo Spektr have been dishing out collective dis-ease since 2004's Et Fugit Intera Fugit Irreparabile Tempus demo. Despite using familiar elements from decades of extreme music, Haemoth and Krig erect their own hulking architecture, complete with seemingly endless layers of angular, shard-like tremolo picking, fractured, chugging riffs, blasting drums (programmed and "real"), claustrophobic sampled sounds, voices, and menacing spoken vocals that make J.G. Thirlwell and Coil's John Balance sound harmless and cheery in comparison. Like the early work of their countrymen Blut aus Nord, Spektr's attack measures atmosphere in degrees of deliberately plotted brutality. The Art to Disappear, while nowhere near as manic as earlier albums, is more sinister because of its musicality and jarring diversity. After the brief intro in "Again," "Through the Darkness of Future Past" uses an unhinged bass vamp and roaring drum clatter to introduce massive guitar riffs that pour from a tunnel of reverb. The lyrics, while clearly audible, don't matter in the musical assault -- interrupted only briefly by a mutant funk drum break. Syncopated, near swinging jazz drums and a haunted synth bassline frame the backdrop of the title track with quantum dread before the guitar riff rips through the spine of the track and drums and loops respond with a collision of blunt force -- this goes on for nearly 11 minutes. "From the Terrifying to the Fascinating" is unhinged in its speed attack, but its two alternating melodic themes are so repetitive they're delightfully mind-numbing. "That Day Will Definitely Come" commences with industrial ambience before another clattering funk break and a wordless grunting vocal introduce the next phase: blasted black metal that winds and grinds until it comes undone with a tribute to Ulver via a tense, doomy, ambient orchestral drone. By contrast, "Your Flesh Is a Relic" is a lo-fi black metal sprint until the midsection; there distortion, cinematic sound effects, and a crunchy, brittle loop introduce a nerve- and bone-cracking death metal riff. It too vanishes into blighted, creepy sonic atmospherics before it ends. Though Spektr's aim from the beginning has been to create walls of assaultive, stomach-churning hostility, hopefully to induce trauma and fear in the listener, they've never been as strategic at it as they are on The Art to Disappear. Spektr exist in their own category and, apparently, they like it that way. ~ Thom Jurek