Spectral Lore has definitely been prolific over the past decade, but sole member Ayloss has been adamant about one crucial thing: none of the handful of releases (something like twelve) are the proper album followup to 2014’s mammoth double-album III. Acting as individual genre studies and experimentations, releases like Gnosis, the astrology-themed split-collaboration with Mare Cognitum, and the recently released 11 Days (among many others) were meant to expand upon the Spectral Lore “sound” and give Ayloss a wider frame of influential reference from which he can draw for the next numbered album. Now, over ten years later, the fabled IV begins to reveal itself.
At just under 20 minutes in length, IV‘s first public track “Our Castles Have Fallen (Raging Winter)” blisters with icy, wintry black metal, but, in classic Spectral Lore sense, there is a progressive undercurrent which slowly blossoms across the song’s length. Maintaining a rawer sound, comparable to I and II, the song’s production is a total red herring, belying a more complex and songwriting-heavy approach which carries ten years’ weight with an even stature and ferocious gait. To be released by I, Voidhanger Records sometime in 2024, I’ve heard rumor that this could very well be the final Spectral Lore album. If that is true–and solely based on hearing this one song (no, I haven’t heard all of IV, neither)–then this will be both Spectral Lore’s finest hour and final breath all in one.
Listen to and watch a lyric video for “Our Castles Have Fallen (Raging Winter)” below.
I would like to present you with the first song to be released from my full length album IV that has been in the works for almost ten years now. A lot of the ideas and half-finished tracks of the album were first written during the same sessions for III, or during the next one or two years after its release (2014). I was working slowly on most of them over the years, as my focus was mostly on other projects, until the last 2- 3 years, where I began again to work on the album more intensely.
“Our Castles Have Fallen (Raging Winter)” is the first song that was composed for IV, the first one to be completed and also the track that kickstarts the album. I decided to keep the raw sound of the original recordings because of their uniqueness and tailor it as much as possible to current standards. The track features important contributions from three guest musicians, Popi Sem (SØMMERDUST) on vocals, Spider of Pnyx on Hurdy Gurdy, synths and percussion, and Matthew Dakoutros (Art of Simplicity) on violin, viola and cello.
Lyrically, the song presents some of the basic themes for the album. It is an apocalyptic song using references inspired from Ragnarök to speak about the inevitable struggles that are coming and the necessity of letting the old world die to fight for something new. Ιt was written during a period of great disillusionment with both the state of the world and my own position as a musician and political being in the metal scene. While I’m not in the same place anymore, the bleak tone of the song sets forth the beginning of the journey of IV, an album that in some way works as a journal of my thoughts, yearnings, and experiences over these last ten years.
IV will be a double album with over 120 minutes of music. There is no exact release time as of yet, but it will be released sometime in the next year by I, Voidhanger Records and Stellar Auditorium Productions.
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