Spektr - Cypher
Agonia Records
Ambient/Experimental Black Metal
9 songs (46'00'')
Release year: 2013
Agonia Records
Reviewed by Jared

Probably the weirdest and different black metal album I’ve heard in quite some time, Spektr’s Cypher has definitely won my vote for one of the most unique experiences of the year. From Paris, France, Spektr has made quite a name for themselves after their last release of Near Death Experience. I had a chance to listen to Near Death Experience before listening to their latest album and had a pretty good experience with it. It is not something most black metal bands are doing today which is why it may attract a lot of metal listeners. So many black metal influenced bands have definitely hit the repeat button over the years giving us the same old experiences that lack anything memorable or noteworthy. Spektr is a band taking a different approach to black metal. It is completely weird (in a good way), dark, and full of atmosphere.

The album contains an unusual mix of elements. Being an ambient album, it is something that might sound like it draws from the deepest and darkest depths of Silent Hill. Having a sound showing similarity, I was immediately attracted to this music. The ambient moments are dark indefinitely, almost giving you a feeling of being lost in space or stuck in purgatory. The album jumps from moments of quick repetitive bursts of black metal greatness and quickly will fall into a slow ambience. Sometimes during the ambient parts it combines with a fusion of jazz. This was definitely something I was not expecting to hear. When the album gets its darkest, there’s a bass line or guitar playing giving it an overall jazz-like experience. Needless to say, this is unique. It is not the most noteworthy aspect of the album but it definitely is a concept not being used in any other black metal today to my knowledge.

It’s important to note that this is a completely instrumental album. The only instance of voice heard are brief occurrences where a narrator will come into play giving the song a little more background which can be heard on my favorite track The Singularity. The song, like most others, gives you a feeling of “another dimension.” Immersing myself into the album did bring out that feeling in me, but I became rather bored with the ambient style after a while. One issue I had was after about my fourth or fifth listen during the week I became a little impatient with some of the songs that over exhausted the ambience. Don’t get me wrong, the parts are dark and sinister, but I always anticipated the moments where the song rolled into great black metal guitar riffs and blast beating. The only thing I had a problem were these moments were too far and few in between. The moments where the guitars and drums kicked in were the biggest highlight for me, but I wish I could have heard much more of it. The guitars have that raw black metal chainsaw guitar sound, but I wouldn’t go as far as to compare it to early Bathory or Burzum style. It has a slightly better quality than most being more subtle to the ear.

This album is probably the most unique experience I’ve had in quite a long time. It’s safe to say it may be at the top of my list of weirdest black metal bands I have ever had the pleasure to listen to, or for that matter the strangest band. The album is overall more artistic than most black metal bands have achieved, and is definitely worth taking a spin.

Killing Songs :
Teratology, The Singularity, Cypher
Jared quoted 72 / 100
Other albums by Spektr that we have reviewed:
Spektr - The Art to Disappear reviewed by Andy and quoted 85 / 100
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