SKELETAL SPECTRE - Occult Spawned Premonitions (SELFMADEGOD - CD 2011)
I must admit that although the name Skeletal Spectre have been popping up quite often in the zines / webzines and distros and I have been spotting it every now and then, somehow I didn’t have a chance to check this band out, until recently, when I purchased the CD in a second hand online shop. I did so only because I’ve remembered the name and thought that it may finally be time to check what the band is like, but also because the price for the CD was ridiculously low hehe. I wish I could tell you something about the first album also, but I’ve never heard “Tomb Coven”, but I can tell you one thing – “Occult Spawned Premonitions” is such an excellent album that I will definitely go back also to Skeletal Spectre’s debut, as I’m really intrigued whether the debut is as good as the second album. Yeah, Skeletal Spectre turned out to be just awesome band and what’s more, they have their own unique style, one which I liked a lot and which puts them apart from most of the nowadays old school death metal bands that arose in the underground like mushrooms after the rain.
The front artwork for “Occult Spawned Premonitions” is just amazing and puts in the right mood right away. And the atmosphere is all about the witching, mystic, occult and dark as the pits of hell doom / death metal. I must admit that not often I have a chance to hear bands like this, but that’s one of the main reasons why I liked “Occult Spawned Premonitions” so much. Thanks to it, its aura possesses me. Skeletal Spectre very comfortably switches between the styles of doom, stoner doom and death metal (be it its Swedish hybrid or the good old Abscess / Autopsy evil twin brotherhood), although focuses mostly on those slow passages, which provide a great portion of sorrowful and sometimes even psychedelic music. And already the first track, amazing “Scalped” (which is about the native North American Indians and their revenge towards white invaders), proves the band being worth every recommendation. This is incredibly good song, with very diverse riffing, but the thing I liked most was the verse part, which is very classic doom metal passage, in the style of good old Candlemass, with killer clean vocals of Vanessa Nocera, who by the way is doing a brilliant job on the whole album, including her raspy growling. That woman has got a great potential and really good death metal voice and also clean, mournful singing, which is not so often. At the same time it turns out she’s yet another female, who fronts death metal band – lately I was impressed by Rosy from Profanal and now by Vanessa. And who said they’re the weaker sex?
But there’s no time to rest as “Master of the Muck” begins and again it starts with classic doomy riff, but it speeds up into more gory death metal parts, with slightly more melodic chorus part. This is really good song and Vanessa’s vocals are really monstrous here. Fuck, think of such killer bands like Hooded Menace and you’ll get the point of how does Skeletal Spectre sound like. It is the same ferocity, the same obscure riffing and great morbid atmosphere. And the songs, which follow the two I mentioned pretty much walk the same path, so it’s really pointless to describe each one of them, as I would need to use the same words and characteristics. But each track has something great to offer, each is really well composed and performed and the whole album, for its 45 minutes, keeps me totally intrigued and amazed to the point that listening to it and reading the lyrics feels like participating in some witch’s occult ritual (just like the one on a cover) or watching gloomy horror movie. Another thing is that many of those riffs are really catchy and incredibly energetic, like the main theme of “Raw Head & Bloody Bones” or absolutely killer doomy anthem called “Domain of the Fleshless Ones”. But really I could mention the whole tracklist here. I also love the production of “Occult Spawned Premonitions”, very organic, very traditional, warm analogue sound, which of course fits this music perfectly.
Arghh, I’m really glad that I finally had a chance to listen to “Occult Spawned Premonitions”. If it wasn’t for coincidence, when I spotted this CD for low price I don’t know whether I would ever buy it and get interested in this band, so I can feel really lucky and pleased to have a chance to witness Skeletal Spectre occult doom death metal masterpiece. Now it’s to time to get the “Tomb Coven” and see if the debut is also that good… Without Vanessa yet in the line up, this one may be tricky, but who knows? Recommended!
Standout tracks: “Scalped”, “Raw Head & Bloody Bones”, “Sekhmet Prowls the Azure Night”, “Domain of the Fleshless Ones”
Final rate: 86/100