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Review: Wyqm - Portrait of Spectre
Portrait of Spectre

Label: Death Agonies and Screams
Year released: 2010
Duration: 44:07
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: January 28, 2010
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Portrait of Spectre

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (8 Votes)

It wasn't so long ago that Wyqm's self-titled debut was released, and now here's its follow-up, Portrait of Spectre. This one is overall is the same vein as its predecessor, but at the same time has a different vibe. Still no lyrics sheet and just numbered track names (a continuation of the first album's numbering), so your guess is as good as mine as to what he's singing about exactly – it's safe to say it's not about pretty flowers, because a few minutes of exposure to this sound would suffice to annihilate an entire field.

Portrait of Spectre is another exercise in black metal torture, mind-fuckery and overall desensitization of the soul. The vocals are still as sick, raspy and screechy, even a bit "static-like" as they were on the debut. That guy's throat must be hurting after a recording session – this is like one of those throaty demonic voices in exorcism movies, except completely indecipherable.

Once again fast-paced songs meet more mid to slow-paced melancholic and melodic ones. The fast-paced tracks can even get a little catchy, with a hint of melody emanating from the guitar, the vocals taking care of bringing in some sickness, for a mix of depression and aural torture that's quite effective and, I must say, kind of addictive. The guitar can get quite minimalistic at times; so much so that some could think it's just some scratchy noise. This is mostly on the slower tracks, and then the next minute things get more "technical" and more intricate, and more "lively" shredding picks up into one of those fast-paced songs that temporarily wakes you out of the trance induced by the slower material. A few acoustic and more or less ambient passages complete the ensemble without breaking the mould, everything just flowing along quite seamlessly – in fact you won't find a silence between any of the tracks, one just morphing into the next without skipping a beat. Most of the time I had no idea what track I was listening to, and next thing I knew it was time to flip the vinyl to the other side.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: This is not for everybody, and even those familiar with such bleak black metal need to be in the mood to really appreciate this – call it a good medium to drown your most somber thoughts in. It's not pretty, because it wasn't meant to be.

Additional Information

Limited to 500 copies:

  • 100 on grey/black swirl
  • 400 on transparent red w/ black splatter

Other related information on the site
Review: Moloch/Wyqm (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Wyqm (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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