(Andy Synn is back on the Black Metal bottle once again with the new album from Spectral Wound)
There’s not going to be any lengthy introduction or wordy preamble to this one.
Just a simple, definitive statement.
Spectral Wound are a phenomenal band and A Diabolic Thirst is a phenomenal album.
Oh, you want more than that?
I suppose what makes this album so good, really, is that while A Diabolic Thirst is, undeniably and unapologetically, Black Metal in its purest, most undiluted form, it never feels like it’s actively trying to be trve/kvlt/pvre… it simply is.
There’s a sense of confidence and self-assurance… some might even call it arrogance… underlying songs like ferocious opener “Imperial Saison Noire” and the wickedly-titled “Soul Destroying Black Debauchery” – tracks whose combination of frantic velocity, searing vitriol, and venomous groove borders on positively face-melting – that only comes from a band being totally comfortable in their own skin, a band who know their true nature and embrace it wholeheartedly.
This unbreakable focus and unshakeable conviction runs through each and every one of the album’s six absolutely scorching compositions, with every scything riff and snarling vocal, every blasting, blitzkrieg percussive pattern and reckless, galloping rhythm, positively overflowing with an intoxicating blend of blinding intensity and stubborn, unwavering integrity.
And while Spectral Wound aren’t afraid of melody by any means – as both stunning early highlight “Frigid and Spellbound” and the equally spellbinding “Fair Lucifer, Sad Relic” instantly prove – they’re also not over-reliant on it either, and their collective taste for melodic menace is just one ingredient among many in the band’s bubbling cauldron of chaos.
This careful balancing of savagery and subtlety, creativity and catharsis – a formula that never feels calculated or contrived but which simply sharpens the band’s sound to an even more lethal edge – ultimately situates Spectral Wound right alongside bands like 1349, Setherial, and Death Fortress (the latter in particular), and grants them membership among that rare breed of artists who may not be true originators but who are far more than mere imitators, and whose mastery of the blackened arts is almost unparalleled.
Mercilessly elite, but not elitist, punishingly perfect yet rivetingly raw in its imperfections, A Diabolic Thirst is a rare vintage indeed, an album that’s not just the best of Spectral Wound’s career but also one of the best Black Metal records of the year.
So drink up, and drink deep, my friends, for tomorrow we may die!