“The First of the Listeners”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Signal Rex is a Portuguese label specializing mostly in avant-garde black metal and doom. Their output has ranged all over the place, but they have really found something special with Recitations. With that band name and the exceedingly odd cover art, I had no idea what to expect, but what I got was something really bold and powerful.

The title track opens up with a tidal wave of bulldozing murky sound and a rush of brutal drums. Wow, this blew the hair off my head! The riffs are simple and twisted, with some cool string bending, and it owes more to death metal than black. But this is a band where you have to listen to the songs multiple times. Although it seems deceptively primitive, there are changing patterns and layers of sound that can be detected. Even the vocals change from deep bellows to something more like a Gregorian chant. A most excellent first track, let’s see where Recitations takes us next.

“Tongueskull Sacrament” keeps the aggression going with speedy raw black metal. Again, there’s subtle surprise as synth and keyboard are smoothly integrated into the tune. The melodies kind of creep up on you. “Godspeak Haililu Lija” changes things dramatically with a gloomy, slow paced song full of howling moans and chants. I didn’t like the monotony of this at first, but a second listening again shows a layering of sound and clever use of keys. The record ends paradoxically with the shortest and most straightforward tune “To Voice The Unutterable”, which is short,sharp and aggressive BM.

I have no idea who Recitations really are…names are not given,,,but I hope this is not a one-off project. Do not sleep on this band! True avant-garde death/black metal with gripping songs!