Skáphe’s demo in 2014 proved to be a tantalizing sneak peek into what this band has morphed into – a monster. Consequently, their debut full-length album, Skáphe², is every bit of a monster record we all anticipated it would end up being. Put this on the short-list of best metal albums of 2016 so far.
Deeply experimental, complex, and dissonant, Skáphe‘s full-length foray into noise avant-garde black metal is the best modern black metal to have incarnated since the beginnings of black metal itself. Largely formless and structureless, the sound on this full-length is about as harrowing as a trip into the mind of a mad scientist.
The songs have only Roman numerals as titles, and largely the songs lack a distinct identity from one another because of the nature of the compositions. The fact that you don’t know what to make out of each song played in sequence reinforces my love for everything experimental. You tend to listen to this album repeatedly, catching a riff here and there, a scream in the sequence of strange drum machine music. This album is as unpredictable as any band that has attempted to evolve black metal away from circa second-wave. Genre aficionados who love fourth wave black metal will easily spend the change in their pockets to get a copy of this.
Label: Fallen Empire
It’s simple: this album is remarkable. Strange echoing vocals mix with riffs that create very powerful atmosphere. The guitar riffs sound like they’re echoing from somewhere in the deep recesses of the psyche, making this very powerful mood music that spans the gamut in guitar textures and rung notes.
The percussion reminds me of Aevangelist somewhat, without the latter’s extensive use of double-kicks. The vocals are accents more than mouthed out words and the production captures it all in quintessential fashion.
Add that to an album cover so original I was staring at my desktop screen the entire time I played the first track, and what you have here is an album for the ages. Modern black metal needn’t borrow from convention and use modern production to suit its attempt at modernism. Instead, I am in love with black metal like this album features – strange, listless, psychodynamic and impervious to categorization. Once again, Skáphe puts out an album that demands attention, commands respect, entices adoration for what it attempts by itself – the evolution of black metal as we know it.