Spectres opens up like the last sunset I’ll ever see. Bass drum pulsates on a mechanical rapid fire, sending ripples through the guitars whose sombre symphonia conjures all manners of deep amber and radiant, sky-washing red; it’s an eruption of the miserable, capturing the very point at which sadness bursts up through the helpless efforts to supress it. Black metal comes to mind as everything speeds up (albeit of a fluidity and warmth of a hot hammer bringing the frost to thaw), and doom metal as Bast stagger over broken ground like a wounded giant. Sudden ruptures in tempo come out of nowhere and yet feel of organic instigation, appearing as the earthquakes that tease out canyons in Spectres’ level footing.
This is the first release on Black Bow Records, which is the label of Conan’s Jon Davis. I can hear the connection between them. The vocals of both bands sound like prophecy bellowed from mountaintops, with reverb rolling down the mountains of distortion as a depth sounder measuring the distance back down to sea level. Yet Bast’s sheer scale and resulting vertigo also brings about a dizzy, psychological transcendence; the title track moves between a galloping monotony – climber ladders to altered states – into a stretch of space and cleanliness that momentarily parts the dust and rock, carrying me into a solar photon sea, before the reintroduction of weight and the physical sees my face crush like tin foil on impact. It is a see-saw of epiphanies, its brute force harnessed through pendulumic, alternating realisations of weight and weightlessness.