Passing of time can be foreboding and hold with it many levels of anxiety as we change, get older, and watch society shift around us for better or worse. Humans also don’t seem to change much as we consume everything that’s around us and, as a result, become an enemy to this planet that is bound to be catastrophic for future generations, if not the current one.
Thinking ahead to what the future may hold and what problems those people might face is, in a sense, what Australian black metal chillers Spire have woven into their new record “Temple of Khronos,” their second effort and first since 2016. On it, they envision a future generation that is facing some of the same mortality issues we are now, looking back through time and finding no real answers to their plight. That fantastical but realistic situation is woven in black metal that pushes your mind to its furthest reaches, as the band expands what the sub-genre is capable of accomplishing, which is always refreshing for anyone operating in this sub-genre. Every drop of this record finds the band—M.R. and G.A.—twisting your brain and ability to handle different realities, ensuring your experience will be nothing like what you get from most black metal. This duo isn’t satisfied with conventional thinking.
“Chronometer” starts with synth beams cutting through as the intensity picks up, and the intro cut bleeds into “Hymn I – Tyrant” that openly trudges and picks up mud and blood. The growls become unhinged as strong melodies and cleaner yells rivet, shrieks meet with chanted lines, with hypnotic patterns sneaking in. Clean lines then bore into your brain as the track burns out. “Hymn II – Tormentor” runs a healthy 10:13 as dissonant guitars melt, and shrieks rip into your ribs. Howls strike as the drums pound away, as weird transmissions enter the fray, feeling both machine like and alien as the drama increases. The vocals stab as the pace rushes ahead, strange dreams sink in their fingers, and the final moments drill through bones before ending suddenly.
“Hymn III – Harbinger” immediately combusts as the shrieks pound away, and the pace keeps stirring as it opens the lid to hell. Strangeness hangs and haunts as the humidity increases, making your head spin, and then the madness returns. The playing is unhinged as it keeps funneling its way into the ground. “Interlude – Antithesis” has guitars lighting up and hovering like a storm about to be pierced, weird chants haunt, and cosmic ghouls lurk, making the way into “Hymn IV – Puissant,” an 8:07-long pounder. Growls barrel in out of weird vibes, and howls simmer in pools of blood as a thick ambiance extends its wings. Guitars agitate as the vocals stretch out as the playing rips through rock, splattering hell and shrapnel as the noise floats, mesmerizing and slipping into time. “Hymn V – Khronos” ends the album by unfurling flesh-crawling vocals and a stinging tempo, seemingly subsiding before hypnosis increases, and your mind feels like it’s at its most vulnerable. Drums punch in, group chants make your thoughts float, and everything fades into the stars.
Despite being away for half decade, Spire have a stranglehold on atmospheric black metal that uses stardust and strange power to make their work even darker. “Temple of Khronos” is a fascinating, thunderous record that feels a little different every time you hear it, new wrinkles expose themselves, and each layer becomes more apparent. This is black metal with imagination and ingenuity, proving it’s still possible to make this style of music that challenges what you know about the art form.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/spire.void/
To buy the album, go here: http://sentientruin.com/releases/spire-temple-of-khronos
For more on the label, go here: http://sentientruin.com/