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If there’s any one aesthetic signifier that unifies all of heavy metal, it is the hooded figure. It graces the cover everything from melodic black metal to gloriously cheesy power metal. It lurks on re-releases of doom classics and it gives name to throwback death metal acts. It is there in the first couplet of the first heavy metal album. Maybe this image’s proliferation is just a result of it being passed down from metal’s ground zero, but it’s continued resonance suggests that the hooded figure is more than a signifier, it’s a part of the genre’s visual DNA. A hooded body, face obscured, is an ominous sight. Without a face it’s impossible to read intentions, whether the figure is friend or foe or human at all. The hooded figure evokes the grim reaper, but also a religious acolyte. Death, fear, religion. These are cornerstones of the heavy metal psyche.

So don’t be surprised when three cloaked figures, hoods up, march across the screen in the Jimmy Hubbard-directed video for Unearthly Trance’s “Into The Spiral”. They don’t do much else other than march, but their presence carries weight. The real heavy lifting in the video is shouldered by the heavily saturated colors that warp and distort the landscape. The video does a lot with a little, using choppy editing and a technicolor palette to bring Unearthly Trance’s psychedelic tendencies to the forefront. “Into The Spiral” doesn’t have a plot to speak of, but it does have an arc, one that leads to an unsettling conclusion.

Stream the video below. Stalking The Ghost is out now via Relapse. You can follow Unearthly Trance on Facebook.

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