A brief introduction
Let’s start with a confession: this band is entirely new to me. A Discord member recommended it for review, and here we are. Spectral Damnation hails from Belgium, and their first EP titled “Out of Control” was released in 2018. Five years later, they released their first full album, “Extra Æcclesiam.”
The album is available on Bandcamp (links below the article) in digital format and CD.
After looking up the band on Metal Archives, I discovered that Ahephaim, Spectral Damnation’s drummer, also sings and drums in the band Lebenssucht. The latter released one of my favorite black metal albums (-273,15°C).
Ahephaim’s drumming on the album “Extra Æcclesiam” is top-notch, but I noticed that it sometimes sounds a bit dull on headphones, almost like the sound is muffled. It could be due to the album’s mixing, or it could just be me, but I noticed it on the first two songs.
On the other hand, Gætn’s vocals on the album are fantastic. They have a cold and gnarly quality that I appreciate in black metal vocals. I also like how he mixes up his delivery, adding more dynamic to the album rather than just endless screams of terror.
Speaking of atmosphere, the album artwork brings a lot of ambiance that compliments the music, and I particularly love the red hue on it, which creates a sinister and foreboding mood, perfectly complementing the music’s dark and intense vibe.
The album was released on the 23rd of February, and it contains 10 songs with a runtime of 49 minutes.
- Dawn (Intro)
- Sulfur Dawn
- Heylel Ben Shahar
- The Grand Annunciator
- Serpent on a Cross
- Opaque Funeral
- Synodus Horrenda
- Out of Control
- Relics Ostension Ritual
- Extra Æcclesiam
The album opens with “With Dawn,” an instrumental intro that sets an incredible atmosphere. It starts with the sound of a raging fire (resembling a fireplace), and then a pipe organ kicks in. The combination of both creates a haunting atmosphere that prepares you for what’s to come.
The third track of the album, “Helel ben Shahar,” which translates to Morning Star (also known as Lucifer) in Hebrew, is my personal favorite. When the icy vocals kick in, the song comes alive. The blast beats are exceptional, sounding like machine guns firing in the distance. I hope the lyrics will be available someday because I would love to read them.
Next mention is “Serpent on a cross”, the 5th track. This song is around 3 minutes long and starts off with some nasty drums and vocals, and the onslaught just keeps on going. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it’s a shame that there are no lyrics available on either the Bandcamp page or Metal Archives.
Fans of blast beats and fans of bands like Marduk, Belphegor and Enthroned need to give this album a spin. I have no doubt that you will love this album as well as the band themselves.
For me, besides the sound on my headphones, this album is great and I really enjoy it. Now I’m looking forward to what Spectral Damnation will bring to the table with future releases.
You can give the album a spin below and if you like it, don’t hesitate to buy the album in your preferred format on Bandcamp.
Buy the album here (digital, CD): Extra Æcclesiam  | Spectral Damnation (bandcamp.com)
Facebook: Spectral Damnation | Charleroi | Facebook
Metal Archives: Spectral Damnation – Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives (metal-archives.com)
Website: Spectral Damnation (spectral-damnation.be)
Label and Shop: Shop Spectral Damnation – Necktwister