Spectral Darkwave – First Last Contact (2015) – A record that sounds truly out of this world, London’s Spectral Darkwave are here with First Last Contact. Considered symphonic death/doom, I’m actually noticing some modern elements of groove in here which help to give it a punchier sound. In other words, I kind of get a little bit of a Lamb Of God or Fear Factory vibe here, as well as some latter era Dimmu Borgir black/death.
It even seems like some God Dethroned got in here at some point, but that’s still to be determined. That’s a pretty good mix if you ask me, and of course they only manage to do it the best of justice on this forty minute run. Sometimes we get a clean vocal element and other times we get a hoary grunt, with plenty of recurring tempo changes to keep the listener entertained throughout. There are keyboards in usage here, which sometimes are utilized quite well and other times leave me scratching my head. In the truest sense of the word, First Last Contact sees the band at its most foundational and experimental, which mostly seems like an act trying to hone in and find it’s sound.
What we get in the end is a band that’s heavy enough to blast on the football field, yet intelligent enough for the study. And once again, that is definitely not a bad mix. They lean towards funereal elements, but play with a bit more life than most funeral doom and doom/death acts of their nature and I’m thankful for that. I do like to bang my head and mourn at the same time, yet I feel that there’s a bit more to this disc than even that – truly, I think we’re witnessing the birth of a truly promising act in metal that could help to shake the rafters and do something just a little bit different.
Aside from the classic approaches of doom/death which will never grow tired on me, much of the latter doom/death that I’ve heard has been a little lacking in the variety department. But Spectral Darkwave offer more meat and fewer corpses, especially in their brilliant guitar solos which don’t sound as if they’re revering the dead.
In all honesty, I don’t know what people are going to say about these guys, but I think they’re a truly solid act and this is a truly solid album. I wouldn’t be upset if someone bought me this record and would play it quite a bit in all honesty. I like the mix of chug, doom, death and synths that I’m getting here and I really hope to hear more from them in the future. It’s classy, but it kicks!
(10 Tracks, 41:00)