Review Summary: I heard you like despondency.
Ahhh yes. The wonderfully exciting world of depressing music. When I first began my ventures into the metalsphere, it never occurred to me that somewhere down the line, i'd become so attached to depressive, black and death metal acts, that i'd see it necessary to make an account on a public review website just to ram my opinion down someone's throat. Enter "Skáphe²". I don't think naming Skáphe's second album after their first, but to the second power, is a poor decision. This album builds on the grimy torment established by Skáphe's first outing in almost every way. It both excites and frightens me to know that such progression is even possible.
What sets Skáphe apart from their atmospheric brothers such as Portal and Mitochondrion is just how well they manage to create such tormented sounds without resorting to extreme, lo-fi production values. The atonal, wailing leads and ravaged screams paired with equally harrowing drum work create the same ridiculously dark tones we have come to love in these bands, but every instrument is clearly audible. This is the Deathspell Omega + Portal lovechild I have been waiting for and it delivers in spades. The first 30 seconds of "I" accurately set the tone for the entirety of the album, with all performances being shown at their most deformed. If these opening seconds aren't enough to cause some sense of dread, you might want to check your pulse.
"Skáphe²" doesn't really let down once it starts, and that works to the band's strengths. While the band do allow breathing space and time to create a more sullen mood (take "VI"), these segments often feel a little awkward and out of place. The band definitely have a solid grasp on creating a dark atmosphere, but I feel the drumming work during these quieter intervals sounds a tad too ritualistic to be of any benefit. This may be nitpicking, however, as the rest of the record truly is a ravenous ride. Heck, "III" is one of the most addictive headbangers i've ever heard this side of extreme metal. And damn, does it hit like a firetruck.
There are always outsiders in any given community. Metal could be considered an outsider of the widespread public's music community. Black metal and death metal could be seen as outsiders of the widespread public's metal community. And Skáphe could be seen as outsiders of the widespread public's black metal and death metal community. It is always the outsiders who set benchmarks for the widespread public. For as long as humanity continues to function, we will always set new benchmarks for happiness, wealth, quality, belief. Or maybe even discomfort. I heard you like despondency, because Skáphe sure as hell do.
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Was really on the fence as to whether or not this deserved a 4.0 or a 4.5. I'd say 4.2. This and Chth'ilist's latest already have a shot at AOTY, so 2016 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for metal. Hope you guys enjoyed my first review. I'm not very good at the whole review thing, but this record can't be ignored. You can pick this up for free on Bandcamp.
I keep forgetting to listen to this.
Thanks for posting the link. And yeah, I was blown away by the opening few minutes then was interrupted before forgetting about it for another day or so. Glad I took a sec to give it some time; fantastic record.
I'm sold. Pos.
Thanks Sevengill. I hope you enjoy the record. And thank you to whoever featured the review! That's pretty rad.
Album Rating: 2.0
This isn't depressing at all. Unless depressingly boring was the intention.
Well thanks for checking it out and reading my review anyway, Zippa! I hope I assisted in deciding on a new artist for you to steer clear from!
And to anyone who likes a more lo-fi approach, the band's first record would be something to check out!
Album Rating: 4.0
been jammin this, really good stuff. cool review!
Well written review, pos.
I heard this a couple of times, it's good, but I don't fully approve the Portal/Mitochondrion elements, which are consciously slipstreamed herein.
I like the debut album better, because it feels much less processed.
Album Rating: 4.0
Been jamming this quite a bit
Thanks slikphuk and Voivod! And Voivod, I had a feeling a different production direction might cause a mixed response. Personally, I like the new direction as there aren't too many bands in this vein that utilize a cleaner approach. It is still rough around the edges and has a fuzzy feel (especially during ramped up segments) but doesn't go overboard. Just my 2c anyway!
To OvDeath, I loved their first record! Hopefully the production doesn't get in the way too much of your own enjoyment, as there is no denying it will not appeal to everyone. Definitely a less kvlt approach. Thanks for the feedback though, i'll try and aim for something higher than 'o.k. but sorta not really' next time. I'm pretty rough with the first-person if that was a source of complaint, but that could be expected (or so i'd like to think) for a first-time reviewer here.
Album Rating: 1.5
Production on this is super cluttered and not in a good way, but I like the instrumentation.
You had me at depressing music.
Great review too, especially how you finish it all off. Pos
Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off
I do love me some depressive bm, need to check this out later.
Also excellent first review.
To Jacquibim; considering what seem to be the band's influences, this is remarkably less cluttered than those they draw ideas from. And cluttered production seems to be one of a few ways these bands create atmosphere. It was one thing I really loved about Skaphe's first release. Not everyone's cup of tea, and understandably so. Though if you know of any similar records that pull off a similar tone with a less cluttered production job, please let me know! I love this kinda stuff!
And ChoccyPhilly and Tunaboy45, I hope you guys like the record! Thank you for the kind words!
This sounds incredible, will check. Excellent first review; I'd say the 'aaah yes' intro is something to perhaps steer clear from in future as it's a wee bit... clichéd, maybe? But yeah, aside from that, great stuff. Got a bright future ;]
Album Rating: 1.5
Oh I like murky, lo-fi production a la Portal and Mitochondrion, don't get me wrong. When I say this is cluttered I mean all the instruments and their frequencies seem to clash with each other. When the double bass kicks in it sounds like the guitars are getting crushed in the mix, for example. My promo copy is extremely loud so I'm gonna wager this was intentionally done to get a "raw" sound but it doesn't feel authentic IMO.
Also I just read the review and it's definitely not bad for a first, so nice job. The bit about you joining a public site and "ramming your opinion down someone's throat" made me smile but it's probably a little too conversational. Also you haven't capitalised a handful of 'I's in the intro, but I'll pos because you're a good sport : )
Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off
Given it a listen, your review was spot on. This is some bleak stuff.
Not sure if Tuna or the reviewer know what dsbm is at a basic level.
But yeah about the album...
I guess its pretty good, but the murk of the production kinda veils over the hellish details in the songwriting. The cavernous soundscape doesn't exactly seem to be the primary idea here, so its amped up presence on the album is a detriment imo.