It’s hard to believe just one man is responsible for everything you hear on this release. The Greek title is a pain in the ass to reproduce, but that doesn’t change the fact that SPECTRAL LORE aka Ayloss is one of the very best black metal bands in the world. This is a massive effort that actually takes up two vinyl albums and more than 75 minutes of time. Almost all of that time is deeply fascinating, and packed with both raw energy and great musicianship.
You can call SPECTRAL LORE philosophical black metal that leans towards the grandiose. Only BLUT AUS NORD and DEATHSPELL OMEGA can be mentioned in the same breath. Ayloss plays everything here with the exception of some electronics. What a musician he is. I know this band in the past has dabbled in ambient and folkish sounds, which makes this album surprising, because a lot of it is breakneck, aggressive black metal with killer riffing and tons of scorching lead work. First track ‘Ατραπός’ comes blasting in with fury and fire that lasts for about 8 minutes straight. If you couldn’t tell from the album title, Ayloss is Greek and there’s a definite Mediterranean feel to his lead guitar work. It shreds but there’s a bounciness to it that seems linked to classic Greek music. It’s an entrancing combination that appears again and again throughout the album. His lead vocals are roars and howls with no clean singing to be found…another surprise. The last third of ‘Ατραπός’ cools down for a bit and then slowly builds back up in a progressive metal fashion…heavy but not all out aggression.
That patterns repeats itself several times here. The songs are all long and epic, but with one exception, they keep your interest all the way through. ‘Initiation Into The Mystery’ features some absolutely crushing and majestic riffs I could listen to all day. ‘Sorcerer In The Clouds’ is another very long one that mixes furious heat with folky melodies and a progressive touch. ‘Apocalypse’ is notably different from the other tracks, as it has a dissonant and harsh feel mixed with power electronics, living up to its name.
The one bone I might have to pick with the album is final track ‘Terean’, which goes almost 20 minutes. And for the entire length, it’s so ambient and laid back it’s barely there. It likely represents the calm after the storm of the rest of the album, but I honestly don’t think 19 minutes plus is necessary to get the idea across, which keeps this from perfection.
I can’t recommend SPECTRAL LORE highly enough if you like thinking man’s black metal that doesn’t spare the thunder. Ayloss is an extremely prolific creator involved in many projects and one of the real leaders of the scene.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality
5.5 / 6