Spektr: Cypher

Gallic black metallers on a one‐way bad trip to Hell

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There are the scarcely the right words to accurately describe the genuine, abject horror of Cypher, the third LP from secretive French instrumental black metal outfit Spektr. ‘Experimental’ and ‘psychedelic’ have been thrown around in certain circles.

However, to describe something that so purposefully wallows in the mire of lo-fi production that it makes early Darkthrone sound like Rush, and contains such a severity of digitally charged, pig-fucking noise attack that it’s about as aurally pleasing as Whitehouse beating De Magia Veterum unconscious with a shitty stick as being merely ‘experimental’.

Fittingly perhaps, given that it was the title of the duo’s second LP, it’s more like a ‘near-death experience’, like your nervous system being flooded with euphoria-inducing DMT seconds before your gory demise. From the statically charged, blastbeat hell of Antimatter to the skin-crawling, twisted ambience of closer Le Vitriol Du Philosophe, through jazz-inflected moments deployed like germ warfare, Cypher takes on a cast of diseased urban psychosis where all the familiar surfaces of the world give way to reveal the ‘ineffable terror’ beyond. Enter this album at your peril.