"When the going gets tough, the weird turn pro," opined the late, lamented Hunter S. Thompson and this is certainly a dictum that you could apply to many of the black metal oddballs emerging from France in recent years. Defiantly strange, but completely state-of-the-art seem to be the only rules of the game. In fact, Spektr's new EP Mescalyne is a nice epilogue to a year that brought us fantastic releases from the likes of fellow travellers Deathspell Omega and Glorior Belli. Rarefied company, to be sure, but this experimental black noise duo (the shadowy Hth and Kl.k wielding all manner of electronics and guitars but shunning any spotlight), live up to the standards set by the more high-minded and aesthetically singular of their peers. Mescalyne finds Spektr honing a sound that is as much technology gone mad as it is decaying structures and ghosts in the machines, blood-throated aggression melding with wide-eyed experimentation. Sonic touchstones include the aforementioned Deathspell Omega, Aborym, Limbonic Art and Satyricon. Don't make the stupid mistake of assuming that their enthusiasm for sampling and digital manipulation makes them any less heavy and efficient. Sometimes human hands can't do what is necessary - just ask Suicide. Mescalyne is an intriguing technorganic mess of banshee roars, razor-sharp distorted guitars flailing themselves right out of tune, stop-start schizoid song arrangments, vocal samples, warped electronic glitches and waves, and metallic-grey ambient atmospherics. There is more than enough room for this type of dissoance, unfettered experimentation, and nonlinear structure in extreme metal.
- Matthew Moyer