Spectre - A Grim Menace from Beyond - (7.5/10)
Published on April 8, 2018
Spectre is a Spanish black metal band that has been around for quite some time, having released a split with Grim Funeral (who the band shared some members with) back in 2004. The band remained silent while the members worked with other projects; most notably Atman, Körgull the Exterminator, and Argar, among others. In 2018, Schattenkult Produktionen released the band’s debut full length, A Grim Menace from Beyond, fourteen years after their only other release. The album boasts eight tracks of cold black metal, spanning thirty-two minutes.
Most of the album sticks within the confines of frostbitten, mid-tempo black metal. The riffs alternate between rangy tremolo picking and pulsing, primitive power chords. There’s a fair amount of rampant blasting, sounding quite similar to any number of second wave inspired bands. Indeed, a lot of Spectre’s trem riffing and pummeling percussion and garbled screams could be interchangeable with many middling bands in the scene. That being said, the band’s injection of slow moving, tank tread rolling first wave like the swaggering crunch during “Burned to Ashes” and “The Blue Room” or the swirling, miasmic black thrash influence on parts of “The Nun’s Walk” really lifts things onto a different level. These slow moving, primeval portions call to mind the more recent work of Gravewürm while the speedier, thrashing portions seem heavily influenced by the likes of Aura Noir.
While most of the album offers an homage to the second wave, the primal thunder and thrashy reaching of certain sections boost this album past a lot contemporary bands. A Grim Menace from Beyond is indeed a cold and grim offering, and one that fans of Vrag should eat up. The recording is a bit on the raw sound, but given the nature of the music on display, it’s quite fitting and the instruments remain rather clear. There is nothing groundbreaking presented here, but these guys can write clearly write convincing black metal with just the right amount frost and grimness.