Spectral Lore - _Sentinel_
(Stellar Auditorium, 2012)
by: Dan Lake (6 out of 10)
_Sentinel_ is a stargazing black metal record full of color and drama, infused with heightened melodies and inspired instrumental choices. I should love it. I don't. Maybe that says more about me than about the record; I don't know. It seems, though, that all of the album's obvious chops and agitated yearning for the infinite skates blithely through the realm of the intellectually interesting without ever breaking through for an affecting emotional impact.

"All Devouring Earth" sunders itself into multiple movements, from the blatantly blackened to percussionless tremolo meditations to ethereal reflections of musical possibilities. "The Dejection of Arjuna" and "The Coming of Age" burn epic black bonfires over lyrics that breast-beat their obscure literacy. "Quest for the Supramental" raises aggressive themes out of a bed of slower melancholy. "My Ascension Into the Celestial Spheres" churns clanging, abrasive tones into sweeping upward drafts like some demonic incense ritual, and "Atlus (A World Within a World)" dithers away its thirty (30!) minutes in windy drones and ambient flickers.

Clearly Spectral Lore's main misanthropist Ayloss has his sights set on the stratosphere and beyond, and he has a firm grasp of both savage heaviness and atmospheric contemplation. On _Sentinel_, though, these elements' coexistence is underwhelming, as if they were a pair of exciting new compounds -- inert in isolation but explosive when combined -- introduced by Q early in some high-tension Bond film, only to have the dashing Double-O himself return them quietly undeployed at the movie's end. The potential for revelatory combustion is tucked down in our hero's pocket all the time; not finding a cunning use for it is kinda lame, and exceedingly frustrating.

Contact: http://spectrallore.bandcamp.com/album/sentinel-2

(article published 29/12/2012)

12/29/2014 C Drishner 9 Spectral Lore - III
5/21/2009 P Williams 7.5 Spectral Lore - I
3/22/2006 A Marouchos 3.5 Spectral Lore - Spectral Lore
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