When you first hear Spectral Wound’s latest album, you can’t help but feel like you’ve been strapped to a pale horse barreling towards the ends of the earth. After only a few seconds, you’re locked into an unrelenting sprint that hardly wanes over the course of A Diabolic Thirst.
Although the band is clearly paying tribute to its tremolo picking forefathers, Spectral Wound does far more than hurl you headfirst towards your imminent demise. Their melodic guitar work elevates the listening experience to moments of transcendence and leaves you with earworms that writhe through your skull for days to come. The anguished vocals elevate and propel each song rather than seep into the mix. The production is built on a foundation of raw black metal, but the recording feels balanced as each instrument has room to breathe. In this case, that means gasping for air as they all charge forward at a dizzying pace.
Just when you think you may be on the verge of collapse, the album provides moments of reprieve. An acoustic guitar passage in “Frigid and Spellbound” and tempo shifts at the beginning of “Mausoleal Drift” and “Diabolic Immanence” break up the compositions and hint at what may come as the band continues to expand on their sound.
With no songs under the five-minute mark, Spectral Wound has mastered the art of the slow build at a rapid-fire pace. The Scandinavian torchbearers of black metal’s second wave have imparted their stygian wisdom and Spectral Wound are leading the charge from the ice laden terrain of Montreal. The impressive musicianship, attention to aesthetic details, and support from the remarkably consistent Profound Lore will solidify A Diabolic Thirst as a modern day classic, paving the way for the next generation of blackened souls conjuring infernal sounds to bring about the world’s end.