Spectres: Dying (Sonic Cathedral)

Coruscating debut LP from ascendant Bristol quartet

Released Feb 23rd, 2015 via Sonic Cathedral / By Richard Lewis
Spectres: Dying (Sonic Cathedral) From the cover of a middle aged bloke who looks as though he’s expired in the bathtub to the music contained within, Spectres’ debut LP proves an occasionally discomforting listen, albeit one shot through with a sulphurous, febrile energy.

Seething with tinnitus inducing ultravolume throughout, ‘Drag’, ninety seconds of clanking, hissing dissonance that sounds like an elevator descending through a deserted warehouse opens the set with 'Where Flies Sleep’ the most immediate track in the band’s catalogue following immediately after.

Sensibly frontloaded with a series of sharp shocks the uncoiling riff of ‘The Sky Of All Places’ is succeeded by ‘Family’ alternately switching between fuzz toned resignation and vicious assault, climaxing on the pitch-dark chorus ‘Addiction runs in my family/And I’m wondering if it’s coming for me’ before suddenly coming to a dead stop.

In thrall to New York noise rock (Royal Trux, Glenn Branca, A Place to Bury Strangers) the influence of late 1980s Sonic Youth looms large, the Bristolians proving similarly adept at wedding searing guitar textures to full blooded melodies.

The mixture of passive – aggressive tension is skilfully handled, when you half expect the band to double the tempo and veer into an all-out thrash, ‘This Purgatory’ drifts into a tranche of guitar noise akin to Sonic Youth’s ‘The Sprawl’.

‘Mirror’, battering its way along on a recurring dentist’s drill guitar figure somehow locates a pop song structure amidst the chaos, while the compelling ‘Blood in the Cups’ revolves around a teeth rattlingly treblely arpeggio.

Vast nine minute closer ‘Sea of Trees’ named after the notorious Japanese 'Suicide Forest' proves suitably unsettling, diverting from a opening hum of mellow guitar patina into a deafening mid track cacophony and back again.

While the band’s influences permeate the LP a little too powerfully at times and the second half of the set falters slightly after the impressive first, Dying represents an audacious opening salvo and a definite throw down to other guitar wielding eardrum wreckers emerging from the UK this year.