Skáphe - Skáphe2
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Buy the vinyl at Fallen Empire Records
Self proclaimed “asphyxiating black metal” band Skaphe, in my opinion, have now lived up to their title. Their previous album was fine, better than I was expecting, but not something I would immediately consider revisiting. With this release, the band have put together some of the finest underground black metal I’ve heard, alongside Misþyrming, which makes sense because they are both signed to Fallen Empire Records to release their albums on vinyl.
The album comes crashing into your ears with a wall of guitars and bass, along with the punching drums, and the raw echoing vocals coming through the mix just enough. The sound reminds me of the previously mentioned Misþyrming, yet this sounds like garage band metal, which I don’t say as an insult. It's more of a reflection on the production quality. The wall of sound that they created is reminiscent of a band playing a closed and confined room, making the listener feel a little claustrophobic.
Now, this wouldn’t feel as powerful if there weren’t natural breaks. The wall ceases and gives way for tension-building gloom. We heard it in “I” and other songs, but I think “IV” has it the best. I’d actually consider the entire song one of these breaks. It begins with a basic beat with the bass delivering an evil groove as labored, guttural vocals drone on. It's a haunting sound that contrasts the barrage that's the rest of the album and gives you a little breathing room.
My only gripes with the album are that I don’t see myself listening to this often, and that there are very forgettable parts. If I wasn’t always trying to keep up with every other release and had more time to relisten to past albums, I could see myself enjoying this more down the road and maybe find the album less forgettable, but I don’t see that happening until I decide to buy the vinyl. It's good enough, and I listen to my records more than mp3 downloads, so my opinion will probably improve, but getting the vinyl isn’t a priority for me right now. Also, while I like to think that I listen to a decent amount of black metal, I know there are a lot of people that listen to much more than I do, and will probably enjoy this even more than I did.