A revival of old school Death Metal had been festering in the underground for some years resulting in some essential new wave classics such as ‘Breed Deadness Blood’, ‘Graves of the Archangels’ and ‘Trivne Impvrity Rites’, but the arguable full-blown return of the style was hallmarked by the first edition of Kill-Town Death Fest in 2010. Featuring bands like Dead Congregation, Necrowretch, Swallowed, Krypts and Stench of Decay, the cream of the rotting crop of bands that often were just at the demo stage of their career gathered for three days of depravity that later turned into an annual celebration. Coining the term Kill-Town as the Death Metal nickname for their hometown Copenhagen, Undergang was one of the most prominent acts and with their “this is as low as my voice can go” dank Death Metal sound the band remains one of the flagbearers of the scene. While many bands joined the revival, it would take a few years until a band surfaced that approached low-tuned filth in a gruelling slow manner. Channeling the highly-influential sound of diSEMBOWELMENT, Spectral Voice is arguably one of the newer bands to nail the crawling, almost Funeral Doom-like Death Metal. Old school Death Metal fans rejoice, as Undergang and Spectral Voice team up together for 33 minutes of brooding darkness.
Along with five full-lengths and a sixth Undergang record on the way, the band’s impressive discography contains many EPs and splits. As I personally prefer their grooving, D-beat infested low-tuned Death Metal on shorter formats, these three songs that are each 6 to 7 minutes long present the band in optima forma. While the old school drums, low guitar tuning and David ‘Torturdød’ Mikkelsen’s ultra-low vocals remain a constant throughout their work, Undergang isn’t a band to repeat the same exact formula every time. Autopsy, Rottrevore and Incantation are obviously important to the sound of the band, but ‘I Læsket Kalk’ and ‘Gid Der Kom En Sygdom Og Tog Mig’ can certainly be accused of a hint of Demilich as well, although of course without traveling too far into their depths of madness. The latter song also prominently sports hints of Bolt Thrower and diSEMBOWELMENT, with an altogether more grooving and grinding D-beat character to the track. Final track ‘Fæl Rådden Død’ combines all these elements of the other songs, but at the same time has this almost timeless feel to it, as if it would have been one of the first Undergang songs recorded. In other words, if you love the sound of Undergang, and why wouldn’t you, you won’t find any disappointment here.
Spectral Voice’s only full-length ‘Eroded Corridors of Unbeing’ dates back to 2017, and besides that album and the infamous ‘Necrotic Doom’ demo, their discography mostly consists of Split 7” EPs with the likes of Blood Incantation, Phrenelith, Vastum and Anhedonist. Perhaps due to the shorter formats, the music recorded so far showed a threatening interplay between slow Doom Metal and Doomdeath on one hand, and menacing tempo changes into crushing old school Death Metal territories. In that sense, ‘Craving Final Impasse’ is a little bit of a different song. Fully utilizing its colossal 14 minutes, the forbidding atmosphere increases as mounting pressure waiting for a final burst, but in terms of pace that never comes to full fruition. Instead, a brooding mix of Evoken, Winter, very early Paradise Lost and obviously diSEMBOWELMENT create a disorienting pitchblack scenery in which things are continuously in motion and some tempos of individual instruments may increase while the other instruments try to restrain and contain the building tension. And it’s this constant anxiousness that makes this song into another masterclass in slow and dark Death Metal.
A mouthwatering split pairing on paper does not disappoint. Undergang continues their reign at the top of filthy low-tuned Death Metal while Spectral Voice returns with their slowest most despair-ridden work to date. While I cannot deny personal waning interest in the movement, this split is a sign that the old school Death Metal revival is still very much alive!