Spektr…First review of 2016, and what better way to blast away the festering cobwebs of several weeks of enforced joy, than with 40 minutes of searing ambient/industrial black metal, courtesy of two mysterious blokes from France.

‘The Art To Disappear’ is the fourth full-length instalment from Spektr, and promises just the right ingredients to kick start a new year.

“…a fifth Arcane to a demanding Experience where Putrefaction is a necessity to Sublimation.”

This roughly translates as 9 tracks of experimental and agitated blasts of vocal-less dissonance, pounding and pulsating one moment, then measured and seething the next. A harsh terrain of dark ambient (that has seen the band compared with acts such as Blut Aus Nord), industrial metal, and primitive black frost cover.

What it may lack in overall cohesion, it makes up for in impact and dynamics.

The serial killer tendencies of the first few tracks set the tone. Samples are fused with stop/start guitar crunch, and ‘Through The Darkness Of Future Past’ adds plenty of double-kick drumming and scorching hot riffs to heat up the cold foundations. ‘From The Terrifying To The Fascinating’ is just that. Full-on rampaging black metal giving way to wafts of electronica, with an intense delivery.

‘That Day Will Definitely Come’ brings to mind a heavier take on ‘Millenium’-era Front Line Assembly, and the chugging ‘Your Flesh Is A Relic’ contains the kind of sampling that made the first Slipknot album sound so special, and we are treated to some snippets of ‘Taxi Driver’ in ‘The Only One Here’.

The epic closing track literally takes us from Portishead to Motorhead, as a trip-hop vibe gives way to some thrashy crust punk, while those fiery guitar licks take us back full-circle.

Although occasionally the general effect of ‘The Art To Disappear’ doesn’t quite gel completely (and let’s face it, the addition of actual vocals alongside the samples would have been a great touch), Spektr’s album goes a long way in proving that the fusion of ambient/industrial/electronic sounds with metal, can provide some of the most exciting moments in music.

(7/10 Stuart Carroll)