Spektr 2016I first came across the nightmarish raptures of Spektr in 2006 with Near Death Experience. That album was perhaps the most unsettling record in my music collection at the time, and served to worsen my already-horrific insomnia. Since then I’ve been captivated by every one of Spektr‘s disturbing soundtracks. Spektr rarely delivers “music”—in the strictest sense of the word—and isn’t exactly your typical black metal band, but with each release this French duo delves deeper into the psychotic void they first created on 2004’s Et Fugit Irreparabile Tempus. Spektr uses effective sampling (including the Twilight Zone theme in 2013’s Cypher), machine-like pulses and throbs, and Thorns/early Blut Aus Nord ambiance to build anxiety in their listeners. Along with these hopeless atmospheres, splashes of blackened tremolos and jazzy drum work bind every frayed edge together like Frankenstein’s monster. Though the band’s tunnel shrieking hasn’t made an appearance since 2007’s Mescalyne EP, Spektr needed need them on Cypher, and The Art to Disappear is no different.

Three years after Cypher, these Parisians follow a less-is-more philosophy in riffs, vocals, and album length. Spektr are not exactly known for their riffs—or song structures, for that matter—but The Art to Disappear is chock-full of them. These riffs are simple yet memorable, and the similarities of each create a running theme throughout the album. The Art to Disappear is more concise than previous outings, the flow cleverly crafted and the concept supported by every character. The Thorns-like elements, the old-school Blut Aus Nord trippiness, and the Gorgoroth and Reverence aggressiveness supply This  with all the tension, anxiety, and mind-fuckery you could ever hope for.

Opener “Again” says it all in its mere thirty-second existence. “Through the Darkness of Future Past” sticks to the script of the opener while stacking layers upon layers of droning chugs and haunting samples on top of itself. The track’s build finally breaks and a driving, hardened riff cracks your eardrums while dissonant guitars separate skin from bone. “Kill Again” follows in an attempt to quiet the chaos, but the relentlessness of its perturbing qualities magnify the impacts of “Through the Darkness of Future Past” and the cerebral-liquefying “From the Terrifying to the Fascinating.” The Art to Disappear alternates from unsettling to calming all the way to the groovy, almost black ‘n’ roll riffs of the closer; creating a concise forty-minute concept from beginning to end. However, the moment that concept becomes clear, the album disappears as unexpectedly as it appeared. Thank goodness The Art to Disappear has repeat value.

unicorn guy

Along with the “instrumental,” sample-happy “Kill Again,” “Soror Mystica” and “The Only One Here” are used almost exclusively for bridging a gap between the actual music on The Art to Disappear. “Soror Mystica” ferries the depressing synths and melodic Ulverisms of “That Day Will Definitely Come” over to the shores of the Gorgorothian bombardment of “Your Flesh Is a Relic.” And from there, “The Only One Here” transitions “Your Flesh Is a Relic” into the jazz-influenced introduction of the title track. These haunting interludes work wonderfully to break up the chaos on the album, supplying unique layers of uneasiness that push The Art to Disappear to its limits, but never allowing it to derail.

The Art to Disappear is perhaps the most straightforward and “accessible” record in Spektr‘s catalog. It’s concise, it flows, and it has a tight-knit theme—much like its predecessor—that steadily increases the listener’s anxiety. However, fluctuations in dynamics result in a mix of DR8 instrumental/effects tracks and hard-hitting DR4 ditties. Though it displeases me in a general sense, the brickwalled assault of “Your Flesh Is a Relic,” following the calmer “Soror Mystica,” seems fitting for an album like The Art to Disappear (as it did for last year’s Death Karma release). Regardless, Spektr has dropped another gem of industrial/ambient/nightmare “music” with an aggressiveness that crushes all their previous work and damn near matches wits with Cypher. While the album cover may imply something else entirely, don’t be fooled. This shit is as black as soot.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Agonia Records

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  • André Snyde Lopes

    Finally my most anticipated album of January rears its ugly, deformed head. Teratology was one of my favorite “songs” of 2013. Glad to know you liked it, but after all that praise I was expecting more than 3.5, Dr. Ahmed Nathaniel Grier,

    It’s less that 40 minutes long so it just makes look forward to it more.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      How in the hell do you know my real name??!!

      I actually enjoy this album very much. I think I like Cypher better (which is a 4.0 in my mind) and that is why you see a 3.5 here. But it is borderline 4.0. Regardless, this is definitely one of my favorites of January.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        You don’t want to know…

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Actually I don’t. This album is creeping me out enough as it is.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    This is demented stuff. It would seem the French are better at insanity than anything else- surrender included.

    And I don’t trust your credentials as a doctor if you have insomnia issues. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that you don’t even practice!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Oh, I practice!! I mean… not legally.

      And my lack of sleep makes for rock-solid nerves and greater concentration. However, I’m deathly afraid of blood so I drink heavily.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      As a current denizen of France and I can certainly verify that most people are quite adept at being crazy.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      No, I’m pretty sure he’s a fully-qualified Colorectal Surgeon:

      “A doctor he wanted to be
      For golf he loved to play,
      But this is not quite what he meant…
      By eighteen holes a day!”

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Poetry…

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Yeeha! Cypher is one of my favourite Space Metal albums. It always draws me in to another dimension. Good to hear they’re maintaining the quality. Can’t wait for the 29th.

  • Dethjesta

    There is something eerily compelling about this record. As well just plain eerie.. and angry… and slightly mad.

    From the Terrifying to the Fascinating – pretty much sums it up.
    Cheers Doc.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Indeed.

  • You wot m8?

    This is weird. I like weird. I like this. Cheers.

  • ZEbyiUWvbe

    I love Spektr! Heading over to Poland to order this. Thanks again for a great review doctor!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      No problem. Enjoy!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Speaking of atmospheric, ambient BM groups, anyone heard Abyssal’s Antikatastaseis from last year?

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Great album. Was really close to my top 10 last year. I’d hardly call them ambient though. Anti was a super-oppressive, never-let-you-go kind of album.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yes siree

  • Blueberry Balls

    Wheeee!!!!

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Your questionable profile picture and absurd username make this twice as funny as it probably should be

      • Blueberry Balls

        You’re making unicorn angry…

  • Martin Knap

    this makes Sturmgeist sound like Ramstein…

  • Alexandre Barata

    Heh 128kbps at this age?? It’s stupid to send low-def promos imo but well… Still sounds promising!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah… seems like that’s all we get these days…

  • Pimpolho

    I really like the embedded track. Fantastic review, Mr. Dr. Fantastic indeed.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Ooooo I like that.

  • TminusEight

    Some stunning cover art this month :)