Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Spire - Metamorph (2011)

EP, Art of Propaganda
November 17th, 2011

Genre: Black Metal/Ambient
Region: Australia

While they don't consider themselves exclusively black metal, Spire definitely reside within its sphere of influence. Their self-titled EP (which you can hear on their bandcamp page) reminded me of Lunar Aurora and Deafest with more emphasis on the ambient elements (like Darkspace), and Metamorph continues with a similar feel. Five tracks which are composed of slow riffs, noteworthy drumming, scratchy moans and howls, and eerie ambiance.

Metamorph opens with a whirling, pulsing hum over muffled radio transmission samples, spilling into the next track  which of all the tracks is the most orthodox in its approach to black metal riffing, but having said this it's still swamped in cold ambiance and ends with a buzzing, distroted drone (as most tracks here do). "Larva" contains more crawling atmospheric riffs with a section around 2 minutes in that (very briefly) veers into Thantifaxath territory with a slightly twisted take on the dragging riffs that preceded before returning to the slower pace.

"Parturience" opens with a section that reminds me of a much slower, early Amon Amarth or even early Wolves in the Throne Room. This is carried the full length of the song and has a less spacey, more cascadian feeling to it, and I quite like the drumming here. The last track starts at a faster pace then the previous songs, incorporating occasional blast beats for the first 2 minutes, dropping into a slower section of chords, dry howls and screams with. Icy tremolo riffs and melodic bass lines return with a sad tone, pressing on to the conclusion: silence followed by muffled, echoing booms.

A slow, cold journey. I must say I like their previous effort a little more at points — regardless this is a focused and solid release with some room for growth. If you want a little chilling spacy atmosphere with your black metal without it straying into "hipster" territory I would suggest giving this and their self-titled EP a shot.

You can pick it up here or directly from the band by contacting them here.

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