Spectral “Neural Correlates of Hate” album review

Beauty out of chaos

Spectral took their time to write this first album.

First thing that goes through my mind when I think about this album it is that it has such a twisted perception on life; it is so dark and reading the lyrics honestly made me think about today`s social scene and it has some very distorted music that brings out a lot of dark visions I am sure we all have every once in a while.  Getting on to the music itself, Spectral is extremely diverse. The perpetual rhythm changes made me think about Gorguts or even Ulcerate. They really explore their range as musicians which makes this album so unique. Ferocious riffs and progressive death metal lead guitars, supported by drums and balanced by bass guitar tone, will throw you on a true ride of emotion, adrenaline and power. With the highest level of professionalism, Spectral have fitted a bit of everything that they are known for in a 43 minute album, and have kept it all balanced and connected.

This Romanian group is made of  gifted musicians, and the technicality and complexity of their music  proves it. But Spectral understand the importance of the raw feeling of an album, the importance of atmosphere and songwriting. ”Neural Correlates of Hate” shows Spectral at their most inspiring  and compelling level and that’s what makes it so great.

“Artificial Storage” is the first song. From the first chord, to the most complicated rhythmic patterns one could imagine, and to some bits of exceptional grooves and growls, this song feels like an epilepsy crisis. However, it alternates with simple, linear structures, that are easy to follow and absorb.

“Ashes to Dust” is the longest song of the album; it is tremendous and it gets into your bones. In all 9 minutes, we hear a lot of rhythm changes and subtle dissonant chords. The mix of frenzied  technical death metal, atmospheric notes, technical passages, and melodic sensibilities is an interesting mix, and the sense of barely controlled chaos is one of the band’s greatest strengths. The song is complex, challenging and demand your full attention.

The three-minute title track builds and builds before exploding into a tormented crescendo, while closing track “Into the Further” twists and turns, building on melodic layers to create a vortex of oppressive noise.

The album is filled with heavy, tangled, and precisely performed guitar riffs. Syncopated bass rhythms with jazzy fills dominate the heavier parts of the album. It is groovy and it blends with the guitars. On drums we have ex-Necrophagist drummer Romain Goulon and as guest musicians we have Calin Paraschiv (Pestilence) guest solo on “Divided We Fall” and Christian Muenzner (ex- Necrophagist) on “Nihilist” and” Into the Further”.

There’s little point in bringing up each individual song and talking about their merits – the album can’t really work on a song-based level. It works best taken in as a hurricane of death-screams, angular riffs that is a veritable force of nature.

The production is perfect. Every instrument can be heard clearly, the guitar tone is fantastic and the drums sound very organic and real.

The music here is dynamic; there are segments of crescendo which dissipates over lengthy periods to establish the desired moods. Sometimes dissonant, there are some almost calm passages in between the storms.

The artwork is made by the well-known Romanian  graphic artist, Costin Choreanu.

The lyrical content of this album is a modern social clash, an iconic work of frenetic, clinical and technique-driven energy. It is one of the strongest Romanian releases of this year so far, and I can only give it my highest recommendation.

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