This is the second album from US Black Metal band Skáphe.
This is Black Metal that’s uncompromising, unsettling and uncomfortable. It’s a claustrophobic maelstrom of suffocating blackness that has strange, eerie melodies trying to escape it yet they keep getting sucked back in once more, like light trying to escape the event horizon of a black hole.
Unhinged vocals accompany the wild ride of the music, sometimes seemingly layered upon themselves, sounding like daemonic voices from the darkest void.
Skáphe don’t do things by halves, it seems.
The music on this release has a stronger than normal recording for this type of thing. So much so that you can hear and make out every aspect of the stifling darkness that the band create. It’s like drowning in tar, but an unusual tar; one that you can clearly see the constitution of, so that it makes the asphyxiation all the worse.
This unusual combination of clarity and murk works extremely well and Skáphe² is an extremely powerful album because of it. Something like this would be very easy to mess up in lesser hands due to the propensity for it to occlude or obscure itself, but the songs on this release stay focused, despite the heavy layers of grimness and desolation that the band wrap the album in.
This is 37 minutes of cleverly designed horror. It’s coming for you and you know that there’s a malevolent intelligence lurking behind the crystal clear fog, just waiting for you to get too close.
You have been warned.