Review Summary: At the mercy of the cold, albeit captivating void.
Gazing into the night sky reveals precious little about what lies beyond it. Each passing day reveals a new star, a new planet, a new galaxy, or anything else that serves to extend the boundaries of space far outside comprehension. All such discoveries consequently minimize the impact of individual lives, turning ordinary people—tiny dots on a vast canvas of history—into an even smaller, negligible portion of an impossibly expansive story. It intimidates through its massive scope and the complexities of the phenomena that inhabit it, and it inspires awe at the unquestionable beauty of the colors, the intricate science behind each marvel, and the captivating sense of adventure. This same dichotomy characterizes black metal on the daily; artists weave together passages of sorrow, anger, and existential contemplation, using chaotic and dissonant riffs to construct towering song structures. While imposing in their violent tendencies, those haunting guitars and distant melodies evoke an emotional response. Behind the thick, hazy production, a larger narrative is at play, and it ensnares the listener, compelling them to follow ardently, swallowing up and appreciating the finer details of the musical science. It should not be very surprising, therefore, when Omega Infinity’s debut album announces its presence with a soothing, piano-driven ambient introduction, which is promptly obliterated by the static of a discordant tremolo. Solar Spectre
embarks upon a journey through the cosmos, the record contributing its personal perspective on the concept through a mixture of intense black metal creations and a lurking atmosphere.
The audience’s spacecraft is transported from planet to planet within the galaxy. The ominous tremolo riff that introduces the titanic “Mars” is enveloped by black metal’s trademark miasma, with a furious drum kit driving the song towards the barren surface of the cosmic entity. Distant symphonics reside on the edges of the track, their melancholic tone consistently lingering around the listener. What sounds like the voice of the planet itself calls out into the empty void, commanding growls, shouts and screams bursting from the Martian terrain, their power appropriate for the object that owes its namesake to the Roman god of war. Past the halfway marker of the song, the guitars—their sound feels mechanized, as if surgically prepared for assault, ripped out of a sci-fi film—fade away as despondent clean vocals slowly emerge, their quality almost hypnotic in nature. This too, however, collapses into an instrumental explosion as the track marches towards its conclusion. Any hope for respite in this environment is promptly wiped away as the voyage rapidly hurtles into “Venus.” Electronics briefly intermingle before the guitars demolish them much like “Mars” evaporated the serenity of “Uranus,” their contributions morphing into a siren’s call occupying the background of the track. It is inside these products where the terror of space is realized rather than its attractive characteristics; fast-tempo demonstrations propel the album forward with blistering intensity, the mystery and the strength of each planet being personified by unrelenting strings and the unyielding barrage from the percussion.
Black metal riffs delivered at a rapid speed become the norm in this universe, the atmosphere developed around each song catering to that aforementioned concept of space’s indefinite demarcations. Nearly the entire duration of “Sol” is spent racing around abrasive guitars and detached synth additions, the forceful stride of the instruments directing the listener straight into the fiery core of the sun. One must also reckon with the one-two punch delivered by “Saturn” and “Terra,” with the former sporting an industrial aesthetic that pairs off effectively with the reappearance of supporting electronics. Then comes the destructive disposition of the latter formation, the industrial motif retaining its presence as the alternating strikes from the instruments and the bellowing harsh calls combine into an impenetrable wall of unbridled aggression. The final moments of the song dissolve into nothingness; the drum kit spirals out of control, the vocals and guitars consumed by static. It’s as if Omega Infinity has taken that metaphorical spacecraft—an audience that had been enthralled by a frightening, albeit rewarding experience—and sent it careening out of its already tumultuous orbit, the ship disappearing into the obscure depths of space. Despite such imagery, that prior hope for calm manages to appear before the story is reduced to ruins—the calm before the storm. Doom-esque and almost gothic in its sonic identity, “Neptune” graces the listener with soothing female singing, unobtrusive electronics gently backing the vocals. The growls and the heavy guitar line that eventually inhabit this peaceful domain, while comparatively subdued, serve as a reminder as the serene blue hues of the planetary body appear to the listener: This is still space, and it could still make any visitor prisoner to its untold nadirs.
As alluring as those numbers may be, it is the massive spectacle of “Jupiter”—predictably the lengthiest entry on Solar Spectre
—where the grandiose and the daunting are merged into one formidable beast. When the slow, plodding pace of the track is established by a crushing, doom-tinged riff, one can envision the solar system’s largest denizen gradually creeping into view, its enormous figure dwarfing that of the audience by an amount difficult to fully appreciate. The eerie clean vocals of “Mars” return amongst the authoritative range of the harsh performance, a choir calling from the margins of the final frontier. Considering the larger-than-life mood presented by Solar Spectre
, it is surprising to observe its runtime; it partially exceeds the 40-minute marker, which is somewhat anomalous in a music market populated by black metal records liberally exceeding much further levels. The duo composing Omega Infinity are able to build a cohesive, concise odyssey that achieves the hallmarks of both its chosen genre preference and the topic at hand. While the cosmos have certainly found themselves discussed frequently in musical projects, and while sustained chords are the status quo here rather than spastic forays—for better or for worse—they are each assisted by a faint atmosphere and exciting amalgamations of other categories of expression. The team’s inaugural album provided here is not a beckoning wave for spectators to join an expedition. Rather, Omega Infinity demand for their audience to strap in and soak up the sights, be it for their fascinating aura or the hidden might prowling throughout the stars.