Photo courtesy of Spectral Wound
I've been mourning the death of Ensorcelor since the cult Montreal quartet disbanded in 2013 following the release of a short and deadly split with Moloch. The band's sole full-length, Crucifuge, had sent shockwaves through my system, and years later, I've found precious few others records that come close to matching it. There was something so alien yet inviting about its impossibly bleak dirges, and in the shivering tension that arose between the whisps of melody and raw malevolence that coursed through its tentacles of funeral doom, black metal, and feedback-stricken sludge. It was damn near perfect—and it never got the follow-up it deserved until now.
There's no use bemoaning the dissolution of a band—even one you love—because time is a flat circle and we all die anyway. If you're lucky, sometimes the members of said band go on to form other projects—projects that sound quite a bit different from the original effort, but maintain the feeling and the quality of their predecessors. After Ensorcelor perished, a trio of new bands involving its members bloomed, as Circle of Salt, Æsahættr, and Spectral Wound rose up like saplings from a fading grave. All three are rooted in the same darkness that gave their former band life, but now, free to pursue other paths, the members involved have branched out into interesting—if not entirely unexpected—new territory.
Spectral Wound has just released its debut, a full-length effort entited Terra Nullius that blends the razor-edged melodies of the Finnish black metal tradition with the down-trodden gloom and atmospheric touches that lurked behind Ensorcelor's crushing weight. It's an addicting listen, and a truly excellent collection of raw, bracing black metal, seemingly genetically-engineered to satisfy those who worship Clandestine Blaze, own Thantifaxath's latest album, and have spent all day freaking out over that new Mgla teaser track. Much like its pseudo-predecessor, it's damn near perfect.
Kim Kelly promises she'll shut up about Ensorcelor eventually. For now, she's on Twiter - @grimkim