There something so fascinating about black metal and how the horrid screams and shouts can orchestrate a direct line to ride through that melts into the listener’s mental state. Here on INFERNAL DECADENCE by SPECTRAL WOUND, the Québec onslaught takes vicious stabs, leaving punctures in what was thought to be safe.
Opening the chaos to “Woods From Which The Spirits Once So Loudly Howled,” many of the tracks here on INFERNAL DECADENCE blend into this one over-encumbering whirlpool. The record drags the listener down with angered yells that coincide along with instrumentation that is not only rapid and frightful but thoughtful and can be intricate at moments. There are times where the guitars can swirl like on “Black Satanic Glamour” that act as a velvet curtain and are actually quite inviting rather than distancing.
Released originally in 2018, the record takes this inspiration from the incredibly cold winters of Canada and in turn, produces some shattering sounds. With a mostly continuous atmosphere of disordered confusion, SPECTRAL WOUND runs entirely off of energy. With a séance that seems to crack in the background, INFERNAL DECADENCE wants to hurt and punish just as much as it wants to conjure emotion too. Here over six tracks in 34-minutes, the record begins to actually feel rather short and commands for some replayability that spawns after it comes from the turntable.
As “Feral Gates Of Flesh” bursts open, there is this almost immediate sense of burning that follows. With lyrics that boast, “I know the howl, I know the hound. Fleeing from the trap into the hunter’s jaws, it comes for me, hunting.” The drained color from the cover art is ritualistic and is a lasting segue that fits into the tone of the record. Most of the instrumentation is daunting, but surprisingly enough, it has seconds where light escapes through.
Ultimately, as the final backdrops begin to fade and “Imperial Thanatosis” begins for a last ride, SPECTRAL WOUND unleashes the most memorable sections of the record. There is this groove that follows and illustrates a trembling end. The instrumentation here is in the spotlight if that is possible for a black metal record and really captivates on some unity through the five members.
It may be more of an occult gathering, but INFERNAL DECADENCE can show through on format with strength-induced instrumentation and vocals that are not overpowering but state their presence on the record. An omen that begins for blackened hell, SPECTRAL WOUND is astonishingly melodic and that helps set them apart from the sea of sound.