Spectral Lore offers us a new EP.
Created in 2005 in Greece, the project of multi-instrumentalist Ayloss (Divine Element, Auriferous Flame, Mystras…) has already offered us five albums, six splits and three EPs before announcing 11 Days for 2023 on I, Voidhanger Records.
Accompanied by a member of the Yovel Collective on vocals, the musician unveils with Moloch, the first track, a heady, weighing and sometimes complex atmospheric sound based on repetitive patterns coupled with a heavy basis. The massive screams also give the track a touch of disturbing darkness, making the ghostly interventions raw and crushing, and whether violence disappears with Fortitude-Sunrise, the atmosphere won’t be less stifling. Helped by Nate Collins, the musician offers us a real thick and mysterious sound fog which almost imperceptibly strengthens while placing electronic sounds before softness finally appears. Some vocal samples slowly guide us to Ando Onzi, where Black Metal’s strength will resurface in the company of V (vocals) and K (guitar) from the Italian band VOAK as well as Odile Aurora Strik (keyboards) and Aris « Sadistik » Thanasoulas (vocals). The alliance of the five musicians creates a devastating wave of sound between Old School tones and martial elements which easily floods us under this rage, whether it is fast or more moderate. We also have haunting leads on this slower part before the rhythmic ignites again to lead us to Tremor-Kalunga Line, the last of the four tracks, which will close the EP with this veil of disturbing but melodic sounds where the keyboardist Nate Collins will also come to add his dark touch as well as some vocal samples before letting the airy sounds intensify until the final.
Spectral Lore is a surprising project. Although anchored in a haunting and heady Atmospheric Black Metal, its creator also knows how to include heavy, soothing or mysterious ambient moments, making 11 Days a unique and addictive piece.
Few questions to Ayloss, mastermind of the Spectral Lore project.
Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Spectral Lore without using the usual Metal “labels”?
Ayloss (all instruments): Hi, I’m Ayloss (people know me as Chris within the earthy realms). I write music, play all instruments and produce albums in my home under many names. My music sounds quite aggressive and intense and atmospheric at the same time, I’d like to believe so at least. I usually write long songs and albums that you must give some time to get into them. If you could imagine the sound of getting lost in a majestic natural landscape while trying to survive from a blizzard it could be a close approximation to how my music sounds.
11 Days, your new EP, is about to come out. How do you feel about it? Do you already have some feedback?
Ayloss: I feel great about it, I believe I raised the level regarding production of this album and it is an album that I worked a lot into every little detail of it. And also I’m feeling quite excited about doing a political concept for the first time. I’ve had some feedback indeed, all reviews have been positive so far.
How would you sum 11 Days up in only three words?
Ayloss: Sublime ocean vastness.
How did you deal with the composition process for this album? Did you notice some changes between this record and the other releases?
Ayloss: The composition process was very different to any other album of mine in that the form and structure was decided before writing any music, which is something that never happens in an album of mine, since usually I just get the guitar in my hands or in the keyboards and see where the ideas get me. So doing two Metal and two Electronic ambient tracks, working on the transition between them according to an emotional « map » that was preconceived according to the story/concept was a new process for me and one that was very interesting.
What does “11 Days” mean to you? How did you decide of its name?
Ayloss: The title was inspired from a real event in which three people managed to survive and reach the Canary islands perched on the metallic part of a tanker ship. While the story I came up with is not a direct narration of this event (it could be people on a small boat trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, or anywhere else where similar conditions and reasons exists) it gave me the basic idea and concept to talk about the issue of refugees and immigration and the hostility and racism of nations in Europe (and not only) towards poor people of different backgrounds.
The EP is composed of four songs, two “Black Metal” and two “Ambient”, which can definitely be listened as a single piece. How do you manage to create such coherence between all four?
Ayloss: I would say the coherence mostly comes from the conceptual direction of the album, if that makes sense. The metal songs and the electronic songs are very different from each other, but I believe the listener can sense that the album is going somewhere and it’s not some random tracks thrown together. Other than that, I made sure to mix the endings and beginnings of tracks into each other and pay attention in mixing so that in terms of frequencies and dynamics the tracks don’t stand out from each other too much.
On this EP, you have several guests on each songs. How do you decide which person to ask for a song?
Ayloss: Regarding the artists that contributed in the Electronic tracks, I had in my mind from the beginning to collaborate with some artists that specialized in this kind of music to help me in raise the level of my electronic music tracks. I already knew Odile and she was the first person to respond when I asked people in the friendlist of my social media. When I discovered the music of Nate Collins on the other hand, I asked him myself seeing that we have very similar aesthetics and although I did not know him beforehand, we had an excellent and fruitful collaboration. About the guest vocalists, they are all friends of mine and we share opinions about a lot of stuff, so it was a good occasion to bring them all together.
Maybe you have a favorite song on this album? Or the one you just can’t wait to play on stage?
Ayloss: It’s really hard since it’s an album on which I am really satisfied with all the tracks, but I would say the ending track Tremor/Kalunga line is my favourite, because it has a sort of cinematic feel and offers an epic ending to the album in my opinion at least.
Do you already have some plans for the band’s future?
Ayloss: Just continue making music. Right now, I am focusing on my full length and double album entitled IV which will hopefully come out this year.
Are there any musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, an album…
Ayloss: Absolutely, I’d love it if I was able to work with some of my favourite contemporary artists, like Moses Somney, Arca, Fka Twigs, Caroline Polachek for example. Of course these are pretty big names so that’s not a real possibility. I also want to collaborate with a lot of Metal artists too, but most of them that I’d like to, I’ve already asked them.