SPECTRAL VOICE — Eroded Corridors of Unbeing

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SPECTRAL VOICE - Eroded Corridors of Unbeing cover
3.65 | 10 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2017


1. Thresholds Beyond (7:19)
2. Visions of Psychic Dismemberment (13:58)
3. Lurking Gloom (5:26)
4. Terminal Exhalation (8:21)
5. Dissolution (9:37)

Total Time 44:41


- E. Wendler / Vocals, Drums
- P. Riedl / Guitars
- M. Kolontyrsky / Guitars
- J. Barrett / Bass

About this release

Label: Dark Descent Records
Release date: October 13th, 2017

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Vim Fuego
Once upon a time, someone hit upon the great idea of pulling together death metal’s distorted heavy guitars and gargled vocals with doom metal’s pedestrian pace to create one of metal’s most vital and creative, but simultaneously depressing and gloomy, genres. As with all things metal, there could be more than one answer as to who came up with the idea first, but it matters not. What matters is the legacy of this momentous combination, from its earliest tentative steps through to today.

Paradise Lost’s debut album, the rather unimaginatively named “Lost Paradise” was one of the first examples of the genre to actually gain a wide release. It took death metal tunings and vocals, and played them at doom metal speeds. The band really hit their straps with the more gothic sounding “Gothic” (hmm, is that a pattern forming?) which also introduced the element of clean sung female vocals, and less of the deathly side of things. The band’s third album “Shades of God” saw the doom starting to dominate, as the death metal influences started to disappear.

There were also Paradise Lost’s great buddies from the north of England My Dying Bride and Anathema. Just about every early release by My Dying Bride was an exercise in soul crushing despair, with wonderful titles like “Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium” and “The Angel and the Dark River”. With less of a death metal sound than Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride were still crushingly heavy. Were? They still fucking are!

Anathema were just as despairingly heavy as the other two, although they lost their death metal influence a lot sooner. No matter, their later works like “A Natural Disaster”, “Judgement”, or “A Fine Day to Exit” are far more subtle exercises in desperation.

Skin Chamber threw an industrial element into the mix. Although inspired by Napalm Death, Skin Chamber came out sounding like Godflesh raping The Swans (ooh, The Swans! I forgot the fucking Swans!). Created by Paul Lemos, and Chris Moriarty of experimental band Controlled Bleeding, the original intention was to produce short, sharp sonic blasts, like Napalm Death was doing, under the name Fat Hacker. However, given time, a recording budget, and the aforementioned Swans’ album “COP” on heavy rotation, the result was two legendary albums of industrial doom-death which have rarely been emulated since. The project was put to bed after just the two albums, but was about to be resurrected in 2008 when Moriarty’s untimely death put paid to it.

Disembowelment er, or diSEMBOWELMENT, as they spelled it, was an Australian band formed in 1989 from the ashes of grindcore band Bacteria. The band became famous for their funereal tempos interspersed with occasional bursts of speed. Their only album “Transcendence into the Peripheral” is still regarded as an essential album of its kind today. In 1993, band members Renato Gallina and Matthew Skarajew formed the highly respected ambient/fusion/world music outfit Trial of the Bow. All in all, this was quite some achievement for a band which only existed for four years and never performed live.

Closer to home, (well, my home anyway) there was Sinistrous Diabolus from Christchurch, New Zealand. The three piece band produced an absolutely stunning demo in 1993 named “Opus One”. The three tracks were far beyond the realm of what any other band in New Zealand was doing at the time, combining doom and death metal with anti-Christian black metal imagery. Like many a great band at the time, if Sinistrous Diabolus had been based in Europe or the US, they would have snagged a record deal, but New Zealand was and still is too far from the rest of the world. The band lay dormant for many years, but was revived in the 2010s, and has been emitting occasional slabs of filthy doom-death ever since.

So why a mention of all these excellent albums of days gone by when this is supposed to be a review of Spectral Voice’s “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing”? Because “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” is unbelievably tedious, and all the previous selections mentioned are better examples of doom-death metal.

The fusion of doom metal and death metal can result in a number of vastly different sounding albums all being branded under the same 'death-doom metal' banner. From more melodic and gothic stuff like the recent (and early) Paradise Lost outings to slowed to a snail's pace crossovers with the funeral doom metal style and even something like Exuvia by The Ruins of Beverast that throws in all kinds of unusual influences like tribal ambient. Then you get an album like Eroded Corridors of Unbeing, the 2017 debut full-length by US act Spectral Voice, which instead of feeling like a doom metal album with death metal influences like a lot of death-doom metal can be described as, is more like a true fusion of the two: in some ways it's a death-doom metal album, in others it's a doom-death metal album.

I say this because there's plenty of instances during the album where Spectral Voice's music is much more death metal based than it is in doom metal, especially during tracks like Lurking Gloom where they pick up the tempo and go beyond what is normally considered acceptable for doom metal, even the more heavy metal influenced so called 'traditional' style. Maybe that shouldn't be a surprise when most of the band's line-up also belongs to the death metal act Blood Incantation, so they're hardly greenhorns (Spectral Voice themselves have also previously released no less than five demos and two splits) in the genre.

Yes, more often the music on Eroded Corridors of Unbeing is slow to mid-paced, but it certainly equally has the sound of a death metal album in terms of riffing style. And it sounds like a particularly filthy death metal album at that. There's no modern squeaky clean polished production work been done here and the band show everything they can do offer perfectly without it. Through it all though the album builds an atmosphere of oppressive menace, which is in no way mitigated by the inclusion of melodic guitar lines and notes and ambient sound effects during the brief moments the album allows you to come up for air. I can't understand the vocals, but in this case I don't need to: they function perfectly as an extra instrument, adding an extra layer to the evil cacophony of guitars, bass and drums.

Eroded Corridors of Unbeing is a mid-length album, containing five songs. I find that some death-doom metal albums can end up seeming like they've been drawn out for too long, but there's no danger of that impression forming here. These five songs are packed to the brim with quality riffs, and though it sure doesn't sound pretty the unpolished production gives the album a certain kind of charm that has me instantly hooked in Spectral Voice's style. I really think this one is a special album. It's quickly become my new personal favourite doom and death metal album of the year. Play it loud and often.
Boasting a line-up that includes 75% of the US death metal act Blood Incantation (who released their debut album Starspawn last year), Paul Riedl (guitars), Morris Kolontyrsky (guitars) and Jeff Barrett (bass), with a line-up completed by Eli Wendler (drums, vocals), comes Spectral Voice, an ominous and menacing new entry in the directory of death-doom metal. These guys have been around for five years now and already have a number of demo and split releases to their name. They used to be a five-piece with Casey Hogan (Clad in Darkness) as their vocalist, but Wendler took over the role in 2016 in time for Eroded Corridors of Unbeing (2017), the group's rather unsettling debut studio album.

Heavily channelling the death metal element for their music, with a small dash of black metal for good measure, Spectral Voice's Eroded Corridors of Unbeing creates a vibe that is undeniably all about doom metal. Even during the parts of the music that feature faster guitar riffs atypical for the doom genre, that are more like they're straight out of old school death metal, they manage to make sound absolutely sinister, filling their listeners with dread. It's a feeling shared by the more atmospheric and slow parts. The band's immense, powerful sound feels completely evil and rotten to its very core.

It's often the case with new bands, especially extreme metal bands, that the actual songwriting ends up being the weak link in a group even when they've hit on a winning sound and have good musicianship, because the individual songs don't make an impression. That's not the case with Eroded Corridors of Unbeing, which shows the guys in Spectral Voice to be very capable and creative songwriters. Often throwing out traditional song structure, each one of the album's five tracks feels jam packed with ideas, whether it be the 13:59 long Visions of Psychic Dismemberment that uses its long duration to move through multiple distinct sections or the instrumental Lurking Gloom where the band really rev up their speed to deliver some pummelling riff work. Their production work is far from polished, in fact it sounds pretty filthy, but nothing is lost in the murk. The guitar riffs stand out, as does the band's flair for haunting melodic notes that can regularly be heard behind the distortion, subtly adding atmosphere to the aggression in one wicked, unholy union. The growls from Eli Wendler are also worth taking note of, since he uses a whole range of styles. Nothing monotonous about his performance at all!

With Eroded Corridors of Unbeing Spectral Voice have a record where there's none of the usual pitfalls that extreme metal styles can fall into. Many bands, especially new ones, tend to make records where everything sounds exactly the same all the time, meaning that even if they are good musicians and have a good sound production their songs end up lacking identity. That's definitely not to the case with this one. Their music may sit in the dark and gloomy end of metal, but Spectral Voice are shining a bright light on the future of the extreme metal scene.

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