Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2022
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Spire on fire - 79%

MikeyC, June 22nd, 2016
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, AOP Records (Limited edition, Digipak)

Nary one year after the self-titled EP showed the world Spire’s brand of ambient black metal, out comes Metamorph, the second EP from these Australians.

After the opening intro track, cleverly titled “-“ and containing some abstract noises and what sounds like radio chatter, “Zygote” begins, and from here we can hear how this is much different to the previous EP. First up, the production is far cleaner. There’s little of the black metal fuzz that was present on the self-titled anywhere here. Second, the drumming is much less formulaic, even though the basic elements of what they achieve are still present. I don’t mean to use “formulaic” as a negative term, either – they were great in the self-titled, but here I can hear that their use has been expanded somewhat, incorporating off-beat hits, gaps/breaks, and so on. Nothing showy by any means, but a means to broaden the drumming horizons while keeping the core intact. Third, the speed has picked up a little bit in places. “Larva” and “Mort” in particular shows a speedier, less ambient black metal path, using tremolo picked riffs and energetic drumming to showcase that Spire can pick it up when needed.

The vocals utilise a mixture of some type of snarl and throaty yell, which fits in nicely with the music. Occasionally a bombastic clean yell is used, such as in “Zygote,” which is actually one of my favourite sections on Metamorph due to not really expecting it, and enjoying the oddness of it.

Where the last self-titled focused on space and stars, this one appears to focus on insects and metamorphosis, if the titles of the songs are any indication about the EP’s themes. In this way, we can understand the shift away from the more tranquil compositions of the self-titled, to the cleaner, brighter songs here, all the while still keeping the ambient black metal subgenre firmly within their character. I enjoy both types of Spire, to be quite honest, although I have to add a few points to Metamorph because even though I do miss the type of music they played before, I can hear the evolutionary progress (the metamorphosis, if you will) they made here, upping the black metal intensity but keeping the riffs poignant, the drumming varied and well executed, and the vocals as a mainstay for the meat of the band. I have to commend Spire for this in the space of a year, since there are many bands who cannot do that.

It took a further five years for Spire to release anything after this, and there’s hope that the new full-length will perhaps incorporate both styles of Spire established from these two EP’s. While that might seem difficult, Metamorph shows that this band continues to weave a successful future for themselves.