Just a couple months ago, we watched the life drained from leaves, trees, and all green life here in the Northeastern United States, and in many other regions as well. What once was a period brimming with warmth, life, and promise was left to fade to drab nothingness before winter could apply its chokehold. Themes of death, societal collapse, and spirituality are in the mix, and it’s a piece that should push anyone at any stage of life to reflect.
This is one of the concepts of “Helian,” the 1913 poem written by Austrian expressionist Georg Trakl, and that 93-line poem stood as one of the most painful pieces its creator ever brought into the world. It’s a piece of work that resonates still today, and it moved two equally creative black metal forces to combine and consider what it all means now. Using the text as inspiration, U.S.-based band Jute Gyte and Greek artist Spectral Lore combined for one of the more interesting split efforts you’re going to find. Each band composed a song called “Helian,” bringing to the release their own work driven by Trakl’s words, and what results are two songs that could not be more different or fascinating. Each artist found a different road, and that fuels this 41-minute, two-track package that’s a must-hear for those with a challenging metallic palette.
Jute Gyte is the vision of sole creator Adam Kalmbach, and under this banner he has been, let’s say, widely prolific. That’s probably not doing his workload any justice. To his credit, he has 27 full-length efforts in just a little over 15 years, and countless other smaller releases such as this one. The crazy thing is with that amount of work, you’d expect his music would have gotten monotonous and less challenging over time, but he never falls into that trap. His contribution to this split is no exception, as it is warped, psychedelic, punishing, and thought provoking over its 20 minutes, and it should give you a slight glimpse into his creative space if you’re new to Jute Gyte.
This song starts off with quivering playing, weird guitars, and stirring melodies, immediately cluing you into the changed environment in which you’ve entered. Harsh growls pile on top of the hypnotic melodies, while the warped pace blends into blurry weirdness, leaving your awareness damaged. Things feel out of control psychologically, as fucked-up playing and deranged, scary expressions send terror down your spine. A heave of quiet is met by strangled strings, eerie clouds, and an eruption that leads toward playing that’ll have the room spinning around you. The final minutes sink into mournful melodies, strange inhibitions, and a slurring, staggering path that leaves your head buzzing.
Spectral Lore also is a solo venture, with Ayloss handling all creative aspects from the project’s birth in 2005 until now. We’ve had a bit of a drought from this camp when it comes to full-lengths, as Ayloss delivered his last in 2014, the powerful and invigorating “III” that we still have rolling in our heads to this day. Spectral Lore counts three other full-lengths under its roof, as well as numerous smaller releases the past with few years including a trio of EPs and a split with Nachtreich. Ayloss, like Kalmbach, also finds a way to not repeat himself, and his atmospheric black metal never fails to move mountains, even if just in our minds, when we take on his music. He does that again on his 21:28-long offering here.
Serenity and blue hues greet you at the gates, and from there, a doomy pace unloads, as creaking singing spills, and lurching growls scrape the ground. The pain in the song is evident, as the song goes on a psychedelic trip, and bizarre playing sends you for a loop. Things get a little strange, letting the song seemingly fade away, but on the other side, we’re met with riffs cutting through the calm, and classic death metal-style playing igniting feelings of nostalgia. The song heads into a dangerous stampede from there, defacing everything in front of it before classical guitar playing evens the pace, and noise carves a path swallowed by the menace waiting for it in the distance. The track goes off again, as chaos and growls swarm and blind, and trippy noises spread overhead. The final minutes feel freeform, like Ayloss was letting his muse guide him, and it all ends hovering around in outer space.
Splits always are worthy pieces for multiple reasons, whether it’s to get a quick taste of a band you didn’t know or to get something a little unexpected from a group with which you’re familiar. “Helian” is all of that and more, as it gives you two like-minded bands taking an inspiration point and coming to the table with very different readings. Add to that both songs are stunners, black metal like you won’t hear in very many places other than here.
For more on Jute Gyte, go here: https://jutegyte.bandcamp.com/
For more on Spectral Lore, go here: https://www.facebook.com/spectral.lorebm/
To buy the album, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/shop/
For more on the label, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/