Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing (2017) REVIEW

Doom/death metal and funeral doom are genres created to inspire specific emotional reactions, a sort of catharsis of deep and heavy tonality that is concurrent with the most hopeless point of depression a human being can feel. Bewilderment, slowed senses and cursed dark thoughts giving life to internal melodrama; a perfect storm of dissociation causes time to stand still. That feeling is perfectly captured in the sound pioneered and expounded upon by groups like Ceremonium, Funeral, and Unholy. Spectral Voice fit somewhere in between the grandiose and experimental vision of Finnish doom/death pioneers and the more recent cavernous death/doom dearth of Incantation influenced bands. Their reverence for the most classic niche elements of this style of music came across loud and clear on their previous demos, particularly the earth-flattening ‘Necrotic Doom’ from 2015. Hand-scribbled logos and beastly guitar riffing reminiscent of lesser known band Mythic, told fans exactly which deep, frothy abyss they were crawling out from. The band escapes any ‘retro’ or throwback accusations on their debut full-length by virtue of material that is top-tier in reference to the history of death/doom. It emulates past landmarks and builds upon them just enough to remain vital.

The first track, “Thresholds Beyond” recreates the glorious spirit of Evoken‘s landmark release ‘Antithesis of Light’ so respectfully that it becomes stirring in its devotion to furthering the atmospheric death/doom metal sound. While some of the tracks that follow end up feeling vacuously atmospheric in a way that downplays some of the death metal elements, the heaviness never lets up for a second. I’d expected a more present, saw-like guitar sound here, after referencing the band’s earlier demos, but it is somewhat buried within the cavernous coffin-farted production. That first song ends with clattering noise and buzzing feedback only to give way into a new movement, the thirteen minute “Visions of Psychic Dismemberment” which provides the best example of what Spectral Voice is capable of. The harrowing scream near the end-approach of the track is brilliantly genuine in its expression of helpless desolation. The following growls are a beast transformed, an angered rebellion against hopelessness felt. It being such a death metal record up to that point offered a surprising emotional hit, and a peak in the albums dark tone.

That isn’t to suggest this is a pure death meal record, nor any sort of orthodox funeral doom metal at all. I’d rather describe Spectral Voice as an atmospheric death metal band with funeral doom underpinnings. Each song is highlighted by brief noise collages, collapsing drum fills, and occasional muted ambiance. The performances remain devoid of keyboards, synth or other typical flourishes that often cramp the style of funeral death/doom.  I hear well-seasoned extreme metal fans quickly finding a version of their own voice within their inspiration’s compositional ideologues. Comparisons to Disembowelment should be puzzling for longtime fans, as the pacing, sound and riffing here have more in common with Winter or Incantation. The influence of the most infamous psychedelic grind-blasted trip from down under is nary felt here outside of a few messy Autopsy riffs. A better comparison might be Symptom, a death/doom band from Oregon that takes a near identical approach, with cheaper production value, and eschew those watery, exploratory atmospheric guitar riffs that Spectral Voice heavily favor.

Slow motion atmospheric death metal has flirted with mainstream popularity so heavily over the last decade, with groups like Evoken, Ahab and now Usnea getting larger support from labels. One might approach this as yet another band that’ll someday get their ass polished up by Relapse Records, but I’m pretty damn sure you’d be off thinking so. I see such particular musical style coming foremost in importance here, far above any ambitions of popularity. It seems ‘Eroded Corridors of Unbeing’ is so healthily entrenched in it’s most distinct elements, that to break away from their dark sound would sound disingenuous. The scribbled logo and tomb-encased production are strong statements from a band that truly appears to enjoy the niche they inhabit, and this debut is exactly what fans of their demo releases wanted from a full-length. Spectral Voice have earned themselves a huge fan with this record. It sonically thrives within the current death/doom plane of existence because they’ve found a sweet spot within the style that is inexhaustibly listenable. Few albums are so worthy and effective across forty five minutes of growling, strumming, and muttering about death.


Artist Spectral Voice
Type Album
Released October 13, 2017
BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp Follow the band on Facebook and Metal-Archives

Heaving, unwillingly hollow. 4.5/5.0