July 11, 2012

Lurker of Chalice - S/T (2005)

American sweetheart Wrest is best known for his one-man black metal project Leviathan, which I'm sure most of you are already familiar with. Wrest's side project, though, is the one that really interests me. The mysteriously-named Lurker of Chalice is a musical entity that tries to provide another side to Wrest's music. Whereas Leviathan pukes forth hateful, misanthropic black metal about suicide and the world's end, Lurker of Chalice instead focuses on creating sonic landscapes and exploring the ambient side of black metal. It's a damn shame that Wrest chose to focus on his main project while leaving Lurker of Chalice to... lurk in the shadows, having released only one full-length album under this moniker. It had the potential to  become an amazing thing.

Wrest - black metal overlord and professional tattoo artist.

The self-titled debut album is a highly atmospheric work, combining the harsh sounds of black metal with ambient elements and various vocal samples. It's not a particularly easy listen, as most songs tend to be on the long side, with repetitive guitar parts and monotone drumming, but giving it a careful listen is well worth the effort. The guitar riffs are dense and claustrophobic and they feel like a thick fog enveloping the songs, through which the drums and vocals are struggling to shine through. Wrest's vocals are deep, echoed growls which are sometimes counterbalanced by various chanting, as well as by the clear vocal samples he employs. The atmosphere, then, quickly becomes suffocating, transporting you to a place of deep sadness and despair, with just a touch of hope and optimism hidden under all the grime.

Songs like Piercing Where They Might, Spectre As Valkyrie Is or This Blood Falls as Mortal Part III are the absolute best on the album. The last one, in particular, has captured me in ways I never thought possible. The song begins with an ambient synth layer on top of which an ethereal female voice softly talks about feeling hollow on the inside. A brief piercing sound follows and gives the signal for the guitars and drums to kick in. The beautiful, moody guitars are cleverly outweighed by Wrest's nightmarish vocals, worming around in the background, while the drums follow a simple pattern that lends a hypnotic quality to the whole track. The song manages to draw you in and compels you to fall into a deep trance - which is why I heartily recommend you to listen to it at night. It'll be magical.

Or horrifying. 

There's no sign that Wrest is ever going to revive Lurker of Chalice, which makes me wanna reach the tenth sub level of suicide (see what I did there?) because this is one of those musical projects that has managed to bury itself deep inside my soul and chain me until the end of time. It's a damn shame, like I said earlier, but I'm retaining a faint glitter of hope that maybe, someday, LoC will make an unexpected appearance. It's possible. Stranger things have happened.

Sigh... Maybe I'll give True Traitor, True Whore a listen.

1 comment:

  1. Wrest has the talent but he looks like a Navajo prostitute.