Spektr has always been an oddball in the French Black Metal scene. They’re as much a Dark Ambient band as they are a Black Metal band. Most of their stuff only loosely falls under the Black Metal banner, with the majority of it sounding more like weird, experimental Death Industrial/Dark Ambient than Metal. The second track (“Teratology”) even has some odd Jazz drumming in there between eruptions of instrumental Black Metal. Structurally, this is very loose. Ambient music tends to be more about creating moods and soundscapes than composing coherent songs. If anything, Spektr is far better at creating a dark and depressive ambience than they are at playing Black Metal. The portions of this album that fall into the Black Metal category are very Necro (read: no bass in the guitars) sounding. When you consider that Spektr contains a member that is also in Haemoth, that isn’t a surprise. If you’ve ever heard anything by Haemoth, you know that Necro Black Metal is the order of the day. If this had just been a Black Metal album like Satanik Terrorism, I probably would’ve turned it off after the first song. The difference is that the Necro Black Metal is successfully intermixed with the Dark Ambient stuff to where the bass-free guitars don’t get irritating. Cypher is an interesting album that appeals almost as much to fans of Lustmord as it does to fans of raw and chaotic Black Metal. If you like The Devil (as I do), you’ll find that Spektr is very much in line with what they are doing, though lacking the stellar production and awesome guitar sound that The Devil has. Cypher is a bit more experimental, but if you like your Black Metal tempered with a healthy dose of Dark Ambient, you’ll enjoy this album.
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