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Modern take on a classic formula. - 80%

hobosock, June 14th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

The Quebec metal scene has produced a lot of impressive metal bands in recent years, and Spectral Wound is one such group. In Infernal Decadence the Montreal based band tremolo pick and blast beat their way through a half hour of black metal reminiscent of the formative second wave sound with a modern polish. I return to songs on this album often, and it is one of my go to examples of black metal done well.

This album captures the cold and harsh vibe that made the genre popular while sidestepping the more abrasive qualities of the second wave sound like poor recording quality, indistinct guitar tone, and overly piercing vocals. The drum work features plenty of blast beats and cymbal work, all of which is very tight. A majority of the guitar work is centered around tremolo picked riffs, and the band does a good job of keeping sections of songs distinct and memorable. "Woods From Which the Spirits Once So Loudly Howled" and " La nuit froide de l'oubli" are standout examples.

Providing the backdrop to all the riffs are the shrieks and wails of the vocalist. They border just on the edge of easy understanding and are mixed really well with the rest of the instruments so that the vocals feel like just another tool to carry the listener through the cold and sometimes defiant melodies of the album. The vocals do an excellent job of building in intensity to match the appropriate parts of the song.

If you have been put off by second wave black metal in the past due to the poor production quality or the abrasive style, this might be a good way for you to appreciate what made the genre so special. And if you are a fan of the 90's Norwegian insanity I think you will find a lot to enjoy here as the modern polish in no way diminishes the intensity of the album, and in fact I think it is better for it.