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Spektr Cypher

I’ve never had the opportunity to check out the French Black Metal group Spektr before, though I know I’ve heard the name before. Formed back in 2000, they have had two full-lengths and an EP. So, with the band and Agonia Records issuing a streaming preview of the album, I decied o dive into my stack of promos and pull their upcoming release, Cypher out for a quick spin to dive deeper into what the band has in store for their fans.

When it comes to French bands in the style, I almost always expect something a little on the artistic, or at least atmospheric side. Spektr is no exception since they are considered an Ambient and Industrial group within the style. But right way I started to wonder if there wasn’t some Avant-Garde in the mix as well thanks to the Jazz introduction of “Teratology.” There’s also a good deal of noise over the mix with some explosions that work with it, though the creepy chords that hit about three minutes in really stand out more. Sadly, this just sonds rather weak, finding the Ambient elements to not really mesh well enough, and some of the Black Metal material, especially the riffs, a bit open and weak.

Next, “The Singularity” kicks off with the introduction from The Twilight Zone while the music fades in against an empty, windy backdrop. There’s more intensity and aggression in the music, as well as an effect on the guitars that distort them slightly in and out throughout much of the song, primarily the main verses. Some areas, such as the slower one around the five minute mark, do lend a Science Fiction vibe to the music that nicely works with the audio sample that kicked things off. Unfortunately, this takes some liberties as the song progresses at that point, expanding it a litle more than it needs to be. Granted this does bleed seamlessly into the Ambient and spoken word sample that is “Solitude,” offering a bit of a dismal alone-in-space sensation that is a bit eerie, making the long trek to get here worth it.

Again, the music shifts into “Antimatter” without pause or hesitation, making it all seem like one long track without end. The additional Industrial elements fade into noise and static before hammering in with sharpened guitars that offer additional hostility. There are varied effects throughout, but a good chunk fnds some sharper, yet static filled chords giving a bleak Black Metal performance. It feels like the track ends just after it begins, bleeding well into “Solve et Coagula,” brining back that sense of being lost and alone in space. Sdly, it’s here that I need to step away from this album.

So far, I find Cypher to be interesting, but definitely not too engaging at first. “Teratology” isn’t tha bad, but it wound up being a bit too hollow, ultimately losing my attention for a short while. Thankfully, from “The Sinhularity” on, the Ambient and Industrial elements were worked in better with grim and hostile material that kept me engaged a good majority of the time. The way the band handles audio samples as lyrical content and themes is a nice touch, and clearly something this act has done on their previous releases. Unfortunately, this effort wasn’t really enough to sway me into buying their previous albums, but I am curious as to how this one will end, and that is better than wanting to just walk away content with what I’ve heard. I can’t see this as album of the year quality, but it definiely stands as an effort well worth checking out in 2013.

Spektr

Digital review material for this article provided by Agonia Records.