Review Summary: Dredging the depths.
The leap Spectral Voice have made between 2015’s demo Necrotic Doom
and here is nothing short of astounding. The aforementioned demo played in a predictable and inoffensive way, with solid death and doom passages taking turns at the forefront. However, this created often jarring transition between the styles, and the band rarely found a groove and developed a song to its fullest potential. 2017 opener “Thresholds Beyond” immediately ratifies this issue. Crushing dirges metamorphose into bludgeoning death metal riffs that violently explode into tremolos and blastbeats, all without feeling abrupt or killing the natural evolution of the track. They’ve caught on to everything that held them back previously and built on their strengths to create a masterpiece of evil metal.
This shift may not come off as such a surprise to those that know ¾ of the band share members with Blood Incantation, whose death metal masterpiece Starspawn
did a brilliant job of not allowing genre conventions to constrain the music. Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
plays in a similar manner, where tracks follow often unpredictable paths for the sake of summoning the darkest and most vile music the group could manage. It drags the style further away from their binary death/doom approach and shares more in common with unpredictable masterminds like diSEMBOWELMENT than any modern blend of these genres.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect is the relative ease with which each member traverses these styles. Eli Wendler’s murky growls dominate the majority of the album, but lengthier tracks (most notably in 14min behemoth ‘Visions of Psychic Dismemberment’) are interspersed with some of the most wicked screams I’ve ever heard co-exist with funereal dirges. Dense, crushing riffs often form the backbone while echoing swampy leads mirror their movements, building an atmosphere equal parts cavernous and suffocating. It’s difficult to blend these juxtaposing styles in a convincing way, but it almost feels like an accident here – just a by-product of writing these putrid songs. The only gripe is that, while overloaded with ideas in a concise 46 minute runtime, there is still excess that could have been trimmed. The first 3 tracks end with extended periods of static and dark ambience, with the second track and album centrepiece closing with a frustratingly meandering 3 minutes that simply grates by the time ‘Lurking Gloom’ rolls around.
Despite this minor flaw, Spectral Voice have produced one of the most unique and arresting metal albums of 2017. In only 5 tracks it traverses the full length and breadth of the metal spectrum, and while not containing anything new, it’s all so refined that it’s hard to care. They’ve carried over that certain je ne sais quoi that set Blood Incantation apart from other old school dm revivalists and summoned a slower-paced, rotten creation from some unholy abyss. Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
is perhaps best summarized by a long hard look at the album art – while indistinct and difficult to define, above all else, it communicates a sense of dread that I can’t put into words.