PALE SPEKTRE “Bereft of Xerotic Layers”

By Dr. Abner Mality

As wrestling commentator Jim Ross might say, this one is “bowling shoe ugly” and I’m sure that is just how PALE SPEKTRE intended it. Another one of those “shadowy, nameless entities” that are as common in black metal as sands on the beach, this bunch are trying for something completely dark and bestial on “Bereft of Xerotic Layers”.

They succeed pretty well. This is a musical black hole that swallows light and spits out darkness. The sound is murky and raw; I’d describe it as a cross between “cavernous” death metal, blasting war metal and bleak industrial soundscapes, delving equally into all three sub-genres. The song titles are a kind of word salad devoid of any sense. As an example, how about the opener “LXXXIII: Helcoid Sanguine Maculation Shrouded”? Gibberish it may be, but you can’t deny the sheer negative power of the noise that’s generated. There are actual strong RIFFS deeply embedded in the roaring miasma of PALE SPEKTRE’s attack. The second cut “MMXIX: Of Gaping Hollow’s Grate” is even more focused and brutal: a mixture of total war and crushing doominess.

There are other bands trying to work in this area, but they often lose focus and turn into sonic slop. PALE SPEKTRE avoid this, even on the almost 10 minute long tracks. They break things up with some ambient and industrial sounds that maintain the darkness but allow some dynamics to creep in. As for the vocals, they are roars that sound like they are coming out of a wormhole to Hell. The album finally ends with a long stretch of Gothic church organ right out of a horror movie.

If you're looking for really monstrous and unholy music, “Bereft of Xerotic Layers” will give you all you can handle...and more! Can you take it?