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Spectral Lore are one of the best black metal bands on the planet. Gnosis is merely the latest addition to their incredible legacy.


Album Review: SPECTRAL LORE Gnosis

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Spectral Lore have quietly been blowing the minds of black metal fans across the globe since 2006. Perhaps no other black metal act in recent years (And maybe ever) has been able to put out music that so consistently raises the bar, not just for the band, but for the genre as a whole. Spectral Lore's latest release, Gnosis, is something of a sequel to this years previous EP, the majestic Voyager. Intended to be an experimental reflection of the impact of oriental music on project mastermind Ayloss's native Greece, there is something strangely magical about what he has managed to put together with this EP – leaving you wondering where his music will travel off to next.

One of the first things that should strike you about Gnosis is how unique it simply sounds. I'm not even really talking about the music here. Colin Marston's distinct brand of production, alongside Spectral Lore's distinct execution, makes the record a fascinating listen. On top of that, the vocals never really take the forefront. Instead, songs like “Gnosis' Journey Through The Ages” hint at vocal lines that resound, distorted in the distance. They help to create a vibe that penetrates the subconscious and helps to create a unique soundworld for the record, giving the album a very specific feel, something that is far too rare in this modern and over saturated market. Even though Gnosis acknowledges a lot of black metal tropes, it manages to sound like its own beast.

Beyond that – Gnosis sees the usual Spectral Lore guitar artistry at its very finest, with beautifully composed acoustic tracks fitting in nicely alongside surprisingly frostbitten pieces. Ayloss's sense of melody is stunning as ever and the eerie sounds that resonate across “A God Made Of Flesh And Consciousness” or “Dualism” have a way of finding their way straight into the listeners heart. With his classical guitar mastery you find yourself lost in what this genius has to offer. For example, it's impossible to listen to “Averroes' Search” (Probably my favorite Spectral Lore composition to date) and not feel the inherent melancholy of the human condition. In his own weird way Alyoss is able to use his brand of black metal to speak directly to the soul.

At the end of the day – Gnosis is much more than just a damn good black metal album. It is an artistic statement that speaks to all that black metal can and should be in 2015. It pushes boundaries in ways I never even previously imagined, and it gives a sense of well deserved beauty to a music that we all love. The deeper you dig into Gnosis the more you see how it reflects what it means to be human and gets at something deep within all of us. This is more than just an album – this is a statement, and one that has the potential to ring out through the ages. Alyoss is one of the great musicians of our time, and Spectral Lore is a force to be reckoned with.



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