If the debut EP of Decrepit Spectre should seem surprisingly professional and refined, it's no revelation, as the band's roster all hail from some pretty fanciful projects, including Seth, Asmodée, and Code. The sound they manage to evoke here is reminiscent of modern Emperor or Ihsahn: vicious and technical modern black metal with a mix of snarling (often death metal) vocals and gothic choirs.
There are three tracks here and all of them stand out. "Graverider" strides forth boldly with those male choirs which recall a lot of Norse acts (Virus, older Borknagar, etc). These are tastefully executed over dark and despotic guitar riffs and grooving drums interspersed with pummeling double bass. I like the use of the random guitar noises over the verse riff. "Stranded Angels" begins with an interesting black thrashing riff accented in evil dissonant chords. A progressive sound, before lapsing back into the familiar clean choir-like vocals. The title track closes the EP, a great song with a layered and complex intro riff, and a few parts that reminded me of Therion's broodier gothic metal.
The EP is mixed very well, easily at the level of most albums from the big black modern metal names. The lyrics are mystical and introspective fare, very evocative:
Black light spills out
And drapes this maudlin gloom
Ascending from vapor cabins
The drowned and mangled angelforms . . . gently loom
This is obviously an experienced group of guys who will find some success in this new project. If you like your black metal with a high production value and dynamic songwriting, unafraid to infuse a darker, gothic leaning, then you should enjoy this. I'm sure we'll be hearing a full length before long. This project is too good to scrap. Also, great band name.
Verdict: Win [7.5/10] (suckling it burns in the bible-black waste)