Spectral Lore delve deeply into self-exploration, darker realms on mind-jolting fourth record

There’s been so much time to take personal inventory this past year as our lives changed and the world has operated entirely differently. Looking back on our own personal history can give us a chance to examine where we’ve been, what we’ve done as people, and if we’re on the right track to where we want to go in the future.

Spectral Lore’s sole creator Ayloss was on a similar path as he constructed his project’s latest full-length record “Ετερόφωτος,” a title that loosely translates to “the one whose light comes from others.” Ayloss took time for serious self-reflection using maturity and awareness in order to navigate where he’s been and where he’s going. His music is heavily immersed in black metal, a music form with a troubling past, though artists such as Ayloss have spent time trying to change some of that so it’s not entirely a pit of horrible people with even-worse ideas. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m assuming that’s why Ayloss considers this a black metal record and an anti-black metal record, as the work he has done to become a better person extends to making the sub-genre in which he exists a little less unsavory. On top of that, he makes some of the most fascinating, atmosphere-infused black metal going, and the seven tracks spread over 76 minutes will take you on an epic excursion that’ll require you mind, body, and spirit.

“Ατραπός” starts the record, a 12:42 epic that opens in a storm with Ayloss’ shrieks ripping into your rib cage. The track rampages as the fury builds, and the guitars jettison all over, clobbering the senses and leaving the room spinning. Guitars spit fire again, the tempo shifts, and the chaotic gust pulverizes until a cold front arrives, altering the temperature again. Guitars poke through, chants entrance, and the growls flood, churning along with the final embers of the track. “The Golden Armor” is the shortest track, still running a healthy 7:33 and launching into a ferocious pace with speed and Ayloss’ growls crushing beneath their weight. Power wails as the guitars explore, and there’s a Middle Eastern-style vibe lurking in the melodies, which segue into another dose of savagery. The bass slinks as the madness explodes, and a torrid pace takes the reins and leads into oblivion. “Initiation Into Mystery” is punishing as melodies crash, and the vocals launch from Ayloss’ throat. Guitars flutter as the intensity continues to build, blinding and without relent. The playing keeps spilling as the vocals wrench, the guitars take on an animalistic edge, and everything ends in noise hiss and rumbling.

“The Sorcerer Above the Clouds” runs 11:16 and begins with clean tones and warmth, lulling you into serenity until the bottom is torn out. Guitars come to life and hit the races as the drums rampage, and everything comes unglued. The pace ravages as vicious growls ignite, and then the pace changes, as the guitars catch fire on the other side. It feels like your brain is rippling as everything gets tornadic and dangerous, Ayloss’ roars destroy, and the playing rages into extreme coldness that evaporates into time. “Apocalypse” blasts into your face before the playing gets moody and growls bubble, as manic swirling makes your stomach juices slosh around, and the sonic blasts gets heated and painful. The tempo rockets into the stars, massive crumbling feels like a city worth of buildings falling, and the track pummels until bleeding away. The title track stirs as it opens, causing you to grasp the walls, and then the playing bursts with chaos and carnage. Melodies envelop as the growls gain momentum before clean strangeness enters your bloodstream, but then the flood gates open again. The guitars race all over the place, feeling like mercury splashing your flesh, and then the fiery punishment heaves, melody drains, and the blasts arrive hot and heavy, bowing out to the void. “Terean” closes the record, the longest selection here at 19:10. The track is an ambient piece that boils in alien noises, subtle beats, and voices traveling through the stars. Storms lightly spread and rain static, chants emerge, and strange waves lap over you, putting this journey to sleep deep within the earth’s core.

There is plenty of self-perspective and emotional examination taking place on “Ετερόφωτος,” a raucous, thought-provoking collection from Spectral Lore and its inventive creator Ayloss. You don’t just sit down and visit a few selections from a Spectral Lore record, as you have to immerse yourself in all 76 minutes to truly absorb everything that’s going on with this very involved, volcanically heavy album. Ayloss never lacks for creativity and imagination, and this record is another top-shelf record that both embraces black metal and lashes back against the tenets that have made the scene a sort of cesspool.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/spectral.lorebm

To buy the album, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/shop/

For more on the label, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/

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