skáphe – skáphe² (2016)

behold, a black metal happening. chaotic to the point of cacophony, relentless, brutal, disharmonic, sinister, deep and without compromise. not much can be said about song structures besides being norm breaking. intertwined soundscapes, echoes, sound effects, overlaying vocals and confusion. the overall effect is a vision of hell being raised on earth. literally. a great listen, commanding another go. and another.

skáphe includes alex poole of chaos moon and krieg and icelandic d.g. of misþyrming and 〇 (a personal favourite) and even those black metal credentials do not prepare you for what to come in their debut skáphe2. the main feat is the sound. so full of reverb and noise, the music seems to emerge from a cave, or more specifically the depths of hell, which might be the idea judging from the cover art. an interesting note is that it is painted by the icelandic h.v. lyngdal, the mastermind of the colossal black metal act wormlust.

as the first paragraph hinted, the music structure is pretty difficult to describe and there is an evident lack of source for comparison. the songs open, build up and shift so abruptly and unexpectedly, it feels like the duo have ocd and just wish to play with new ideas. there are passages cut mid-scale for the sake of new material. most songs are loaded with lengthy psychedelic experimentation, especially in the slower and heavier side b.

bass tops the sound, first to be heard and instead of following the rhythm, it sways and leads, adding further complexity. then comes the insane drums that set the tone. the shrieking, delirious, painful and overlaying vocals adds to the insanity. there are no lyrics available and i highly doubt if there is any. while the guitars ring and wail most of the time, riffing actually takes effort to hear, creating the base buzz layer.

skáphe seem to have opted for an experience of horror that transcends reality into a hellish / nightmarish phantasmagoria instead of conventional musical structure. and they deliver. since there is no abstract division between songs, which have no names but roman numbers, it is difficult to speak of a favourite song, but a collection of favourite moments, which last for about 35 minutes.

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