Not many albums can be said to totally immerse the listener to such a degree that the world around you fades away and nothing but the music seems to remain. The first and only album by the second-born child of LEVIATHAN mastermind Wrest, LURKER OF CHALICE is one of these outstanding few projects, masterfully combining cold Black Metal with haunting ambiance.
The world of LURKER OF CHALICE is a gray and ominous one, with dissonant walls that always seem to move closer and with pale apparitions creeping in and out of an everlasting void of pure horror. The distant rattling of chains and whispers of old ghosts makes the atmosphere so thick that it leaves you gasping for air, and strangles you with its bony ethereal fingers. Everything here is long since dead and buried, but still somehow seems to constantly move around, drifting in and out of your reality and something strange and horribly bleak. The vocals come in the form of twisted and distorted mumbling and whispering, and feel like they, too, come from something far removed from our world, while the aggressiveness that can sometimes be found in LEVIATHAN is totally absent. In the longest track on the album, “This Blood Falls As Mortal Part III”, a woman can be heard talking to herself in a voice that sounds so despondent and hopeless that it becomes crushing, while the guitars keep droning in the background to swallow the remains. This sea of hopelessness provides a counter-balance to the extremely eerie mood that fills every crevice of this ghost-ship of a record, and makes it impossible to break out.
While LEVIATHAN has a long and very good track-record, songs like “Spectre As Valkerie Is”, “This Blood Falls As Mortal”, and “Fastened To The Five Points” easily tops everything Wrest has done before. Still, LURKER OF CHALICE is more than a collection of songs, it's an experience, and should be listened to in one sitting. When the walls come down around you and the wraiths start to emerge from the ceiling, you'll know that you're trapped in this masterpiece of an album, and you're not going to escape before the end.
(Online August 2, 2008)