You’d be forgiven for mistaking Spectral Wound’s new album, Infernal Decadence, for another droplet in the sea of forgettable black metal tapes that seems to wash over every #metal Instagram feed. Sure, on the surface, the title and art fall into familiar turf, but this Montreal outfit’s second album is so much more than these aesthetic components. Spectral Wound’s take on black metal is equally urgent and hefty; limber rhythms pair with a certain sonic density that adds to their ferocious compositions without muddying up the mix. These guys may know the legacy to which they’re contributing, but are certainly no amateurish Necrolords laboring in pursuit of underground credibility. Spectral Wound offers up nothing but the real deal, neither striving to break free from the traditions nor failing to uphold the banner of quality.
“Infernal Decadence is a rejection of the need for purity and order,” the band told Noisey in a statement. “A recognition and celebration of the messy, degenerate and convoluted matter of our miserable existence. No essence, no transcendence, no Satan or chaos dragon or nature or nation will save you. Deal with it.”
With a mighty roar, opening track “Woods From Which the Spirits Once So Loudly Howled” kicks into view with everything cranked to 11. It’s an approach that serves the band well, as their own natural inertia seems to keep everything together. When the band slows things down in any given song, there’s still a tension and energy that keeps hearts racing throughout. The beauty of this album is that it manages to be memorable without relying on a specific gimmick: there’s no needless clean chorus, nor pointedly overwrought leads. Each song is built on the best foundation available for a metal band: the almighty riff. With solid riffs dropping out only to make room for other equally enticing sections, it allows the competence of the rest of the band to shine without any showboating or cheese. If only there were more of this in metal.
Stream the whole dang thing below and get ready for the album release on Friday, June 1 from Vendetta Records (preorder the CD or vinyl here) and Les Fleurs du Mal Productions (preorder the cassette here).
Ben Handelman is handling things on Twitter.