skaphe_artNeill Jameson isn’t the only member of Krieg causing musical chaos in a host of other acts such as Royal Arch Blaspheme, Lithotome etc. His partner in crime Alex Poole is also busy with and relatively new project Skáphe as well. The first album completely passed me by but since then he has gone and hooked up with D.G. adding his vocals from the frost laden and oh so hip BM scene in Iceland, where he also is involved in Misþyrming, Naðra & 〇. With enough bands namedropped into one review it’s time to attempt to sum up what we get musically on these six Roman numerically entitled tracks.

Well “chaos” is a pretty good description actually. We are dropped into a shrill sounding vacuum of shrieking guitars, thundering drums and bestial howling vocals. It’s as obtuse as it comes with skewed rhythmic thrusting and twisting turning ice cold riffing designed to make you feel like you have drunk so much you are just on the verge of spewing up. Every time you move everything goes dizzy and it’s a paralytic miasma that even trying to walk while listening to it makes you feel like you are going to fall flat on your face. Listening for pleasure, forget that, this is one of those musical endurance tests that the odd percentage of the planet are inclined to occasionally try and put themselves through. There is some respite in sprawling doom laden passages before the hellish contusion of sound thunders back in but on the whole this is like being caught up in a tornado and thrown into a warzone far beyond any fairy-tale land of Kansas. It’s a slight relief when one part ends but it is the briefest breath catching gasp before a hideous scream comes out the ether and the instruments flurry back into free-form destructive anti-musical rituals all over again. There’s not a huge amount of diversification here making it all the more volatile and stifling. I guess if you wanted to throw musical comparisons at this the plummeting and dizzying tempos of Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord at their most unmelodic would put you in the right sort of area.

At least this sounds a lot better than some biscuit tin black metal I have been subjected to of late; it packs a real punch and it needs to really to have any sort of effect on the listener. Bass tones boom and the guitars scream with the vocals rising from the depths like a nasty beast rearing up from the darkest pit of hell.  It’s easy to bang on about Lovecraftian sounds, something that the press release does but Skáphe have gone and made something truly horrifying here and it’s certainly music that will weed out the weak and only be confronted by the hardiest of souls. If you fancy a musical nightmare seek it out at the Bandcamp link below.

(7/10 Pete Woods)