A Diabolic Thirst
Spectral Wound returns with their third album and first for Profound Lore Records, A Diabolic Thirst. For those unfamiliar, Spectral Wound hail from Montréal, and though Quebec is known for its rich underground black metal scene, Spectral Wound has a sound that is far more reminiscent of bands from Sweden, Norway, and especially Finland.
Recorded and mixed by guitarist Patrick McDowall the album contains a raw yet powerful and full sound. The drums have a natural slap to them, the guitars are vicious, and the bass adds a nice low end with the clarity not always heard in a lot of black metal recordings. Add the vocals of Jonah Campbell and the furious tempo heard on most of the tracks here and you’ve got a wall of sound with enough clarity for the fantastic guitar melodies in the riffs to shine through. Melodic and menacing is a good way to describe it. The band is not trying to inject any off-the-wall influences into their sound, they play black metal pure and simple. The thing that stands out about their compositions is the melancholic melodies intertwined with the all-out aggressive nature of the majority of the songs. There is just the right amount of dynamics in the songs so that the album doesn’t just fly by in a blur of sound. The song “Frigid and Spellbound” is a perfect example of this. The opening melody will hook you right away and when the furious drumming of Illusory kicks in it’s enough to make you raise your fist in the air. The delivery of the vocals over the riffs in this song brings to mind Finland’s Sargeist but then just after the four-minute mark the song quiets down to a haunting acoustic passage before rising again in a melodic build that crescendos into a blasting mournful guitar section. Finally, the song returns to its opening guitar riff again to finish off in an incredibly triumphant fashion. At a length of 7:40, there is never a dull moment. For the most part, the six tracks on the album stick with this strong aggressive atmosphere. “Mausoleal Drift” is one exception. It’s the longest track here at just over ten minutes and brings a more glacial pace with an element of doom before it cranks up the intensity towards the middle of the song. Lyrically the band has dealt with in their own words “the fundamental meaninglessness of the universe, crises of knowledge and belief, (and) a fascination with myth” and has in the past even referenced the work of Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman as an influence. There are occult themes present but their presentation of individuality has a reek of hopelessness and uncertainty which separates it from the personal inner strength any references to Satan might suggest.
This is truly the best material from the band yet and will most likely stand as one of the best black metal releases of the year. The songs on this record have great melodies that will grab you while the intensity of the music is never compromised. The compositions here are very closely aligned with only a few deviances but the record is never dull. Very much recommended.
Pre-order A Diabolic Thirst by Spectral Wound HERE