With copious amounts of double-bass pedallin’ that more than out rains this year’s summer storms, Basingstoke’s Blood Of The Spectre have laid down a technically mesmerising début that shows off some mighty impressive chops from all those involved. The guitars are blistering, as are the drums which push the EP along with tenacity. Yet, for all the individual prowess, the domineering sound of blast beats and a sense of ‘shredding for sake of shredding’ threatens to drag this release into the pit of countless metalcore acts that doing the rounds today.
Comprised of seven tracks, two of those being instrumentals, ‘Blood Of The Spectre’ feels less like an EP and more like an unfinished full-length. The EP’s intro seems a bit superfluous (the intro to the punishing ‘Darkened Majesty’ does a much better job of letting us know what we’re in for), and despite the stunning ambience of the interlude and its cohesion with ‘Dystopia’, it probably doesn’t merit its standalone status.
Blending the simplicity of the interlude’s arpeggios with a frenetic verse, ‘Dystopia’ nails a sound that leans towards melodic death metal in a similar vein to World Under Blood. There’s some slick fretwork after the breakdown, which makes way for some brilliant harmonies over the chorus. It’s a cracking track and shows the melodic side of BOTS, which is something they do well. ‘End Era’ again uses simple, clean chords that ring out over some heavy guitars to create a big sound and also finds time for some clean vocals, leaving the gutturals that dominate throughout sounding all the more immense.
It’s when BOTS take on a melodic edge that they really shine. Songs like ‘Defeatist’ may impress with their ferocious pace and technical precision, but there’s a danger of it all ending up as a wall of sound and we all know that walls are not meant to be made of bricks and mortar and nothing else. With nothing to distinguish them by, a few tracks here struggle to leave a lasting impression. Those that do (they’re found towards the back of the EP) are made to stand out even further in their quality, which makes the case for this EP perhaps being two or three tracks lighter.
As it is, there are a handful of gems in here that you have do a bit of foraging for. It’s definitely worth getting your hands dirty for ’em.
Written by Ryan Williams
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.