Lurker of Chalice – Lurker of Chalice
Lurker of Chalice is a project by black metal artist Wrest, who is most known for making music through the depressive/suicidal death metal of Leviathan. The only extant album from Lurker of Chalice was released in 2005, although Wrest has stated that other material has been recorded. In contrast to the high-contrast, high-treble screeching tones of Leviathan albums The Tenth Sub-Level of Suicide and the Verräter compilation album, Lurker of Chalice is down-tuned atmospheric sludge performed as blackly as (in)humanly possible.
Much like fellow depressive Xasthur, Wrest made his debut in the black metal word utilizing a grating high-pitched shriek, akin to many early black metal acts such as Emperor and Burzum. His performance on Lurker of Chalice represents a shift to a guttural delivery that’s become characteristic of his last decade of work with Leviathan, especially on 2015’s Scar Sighted. Such deep, death-metal-like delivery became rather influential in the US black metal underground, as seen on albums such as Diotima by Krallice and Transient by Krieg. Wrest also switches to semi-operatic clean singing on several tracks, which would’ve dipped into self-parody if it weren’t used so judiciously. (Check out “Piercing Where They Might”, which also has one of the greatest, most haunting progressions in Wrest’s discography.1)
Lurker of Chalice has some studio tricky. “Paramnesia” utilizes trip-hop percussion – yes, trip-hop – but it’s plodding rather than stimulating, and effectively merges with a distorted solo at the end. Several tracks feature spoken word parts (e.g. “This Blood Falls as Mortal Part III”, “Spectre as Valkerie Is”), a trope often over-utilized in black metal; as with the clean singing, Wrest was careful not to turn it into a gimmick. They describe misanthropy, non-existence, and the anti-solipsistic philosophy of being a “negative person”. “Spectre as Valkerie Is” features a highly distorted rhythm guitar that sounds like the buzzing of flies, and “Minions” has the occasional Tartaros-esque keyboard that underpins Black Sabbath tritones.
Lurker of Chalice is a black metal album that seeks to impress the true oppressive weight of impending doom upon the listener rather than shock them with the fierceness of northern winds. A strange album – and strange is good.
1. I – (2:09)
2. Piercing Where They Might – (6:12)
3. Spectre as Valkerie Is – (6:43)
4. Minions – (9:32)
5. Paramnesia – (4:08)
6. This Blood Falls as Mortal Part III – (10:36)
7. Granite – (5:27)
8. Vortex Chalice – (6:34)
9. Fastened to the Five Points – (8:32)
1… and also has a sport on my “six stars” playlist