Ah yes, although not reviewing it myself I remember this Spanish trio’s last album ‘Vacvvm’ (2018) well. A spin today to reacquaint myself with it proved just what a potent slice of orthodox blackness it is and the band have been ever spiralling toward glory since demo days in the mid 2000’s with three full lengths now to their name. ‘Pillars Of Salt’ is classed as a mini LP and has just one track racking up at slightly over the 18 minute mark. It’s a very good introduction to the group too showcasing the work of Balc, Morg and Virus and illustrating just what they are able to achieve. The Galicians have with this we are told unfurled their most ambitious work to date and it only took one listen to firmly supply the evidence that this is indeed not to be disregarded in the slightest due to the fact it is not a full-length album. There are a huge array of stylistic twists and turns and the varied composition is very much a dark force in its own right.

Arcane and mysterious guitar work sets up a highly melodic and atmospheric opening, drums beat slowly and ominously, bass tones thickly rumble. The gates are opened and eerie, austere vocals cleanly sermonise with plenty of weight and command. There are some backing vocal harmonies too and a near Gothic vibe about this secret ceremony you feel like you have just walked into. There’s a bit of mid-era Secrets Of The Moon and dark Polish black atmospheres about it all and as it ramps up gear into further heft and pace with vocals displaying all the more fevered mania you should by now be caught firmly in the tracks grip. An evil cackle summons blistering speed and it romps off, groans and gurgles along with some fiery grooves should appeal to fans of everyone from Watain to Mayhem and the conviction is solid and powerful. There’s plenty of time for slow breaks with sparkling majesty and grandeur to pervade. The guitar harmonies in these are fantastic and when the organ work subtly joins in it is like walking in a graveyard as twilight falls. Naturally with this in mind it is not long before the dead come out to walk although obviously with the title in mind a biblical metaphor is no doubt more appropriate. Another facet of this is some spiralling heavy metal etched leads and there really is plenty happening here from bombast and obliteration to swooning and harmonic grace. Lovers of both gothic music and black metal should really find themselves completely entranced at the spellbinding overall raptures of this track and although I wouldn’t normally give just one song such a high mark, here is an exception to the rule and one fully deserved.

In short (and sorry) ‘Pillars Of Salt’ dishes up all the right condiments!

(8.5/10 Pete Woods)