If something, anything, can summon my fucked-up skeleton from beneath six or so feet of shovel-compacted soil, it must satisfy two criteria. First, it must be black metal, as no other sonic enchantments quite deliver the atmospherics so appropriately for the reanimation of shadowy corpses. Second, it must be pertinent black metal, not just musically but thematically, narratively, even operationally. That's the tough one. Relevance in saturated environments? Survival in toxic ones? Positioning in tactical ones? When these questions are at play, you'd be damned if I was, ha, only sleeping.

Sometimes it's best to listen to everything all at once, instead of just one thing at a time.

Enter Spectral Lore's latest output, the 11 Days EP, a conceptual artwork steeped in themes involving the Mediterranean refugee sea route and the crisis of its existence. Below you can stream the opening song "Moloch," starring a member of the Yovel collective on vocals, a weapons-grade Spectral Lore track that arms mastermind Ayloss' musicianship with heretofore unseen levels of pommel-grasping grit and gnashing fervor that make plain and apparent the project's gnosis.



Endemic to Ayloss style are seamless transitions that whip riffs, beats, and blasts into singular and granite passages that, unto themselves, feel whole and complete. Few black metal projects accelerate this technique to such a degree, but for Spectral Lore, the payoff is always absolutely gargantuan. "Moloch," over its runtime, ends up liquifying the girders that built the song's introduction so sturdily–a multilayered and almost bewilderingly dynamic wall of sound has you by your neck before you even realize it.

Ayloss has cranked up his vocal delivery as of late, and it shows on "Moloch"–you can really feel him ripping from deeper than ever before, a feeling that all great music should elicit. Enlightened by the direness of the context here–remember, so many have died, been injured, or been separated from loved ones during escapes to safety–Spectral Lore's blend of narrative world-building and ice-cold evisceration hits home like so few things do anymore.

The 11 Days EP precursors Spectral Lore's long-awaited follow-up to 2014's III which will be called, fittingly, IV and due out later this year.


The 11 Days EP releases independently March 20th and is intended to raise funds for organizations that aid refugees, with physical editions to follow later this year.

Cover painting by Christina Chrysanthopoulou.

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