British black metallers Antre offer a perfectly raw and fierce slab of pulverizing darkness with an oppressive vibe and a rather bleak aura to it. While these guys are obviously skilled musicians and good at what they do, what is most impressive about the four vicious and rumbling compositions that constitute the Dark Spectrum EP is how thick and prominent their morose atmosphere is as well as how well-crafted and muscular the melodies that course through them are.
With heaps of death and thrash metal influences seeping into the blackened cauldron, Antre evoke a sufficiently diverse and dynamic tapestry of sinister sounds that recall acts such as Temple of Baal, Panchrysia – and to a lesser extent Vorkreist but without sounding like a cheap copy of neither of those hellish bands. The highlight of the disc is the melodically strong and wildly unsettling ‘Become the Damned‘ but the brooding ‘Through These Dead Eyes‘ is a malevolent beast too.
In terms of negatives, there were a handful of instances where the vocals displayed a lack of variety and where Antre could have done something more creative and inspired with them, but they most certainly get the job done and they are by no means ineffective or lackluster, so this is truly a minor issue. Perhaps this merely comes down to the fact that yours truly is a miserable and annoying sod right now because he has not had his morning coffee yet and therefore picked up on this most tiny of details with respect to the otherwise good vocals?
The underground metal aesthetics are prominent and the whole cursed affair comes across as a confident and focused piece of work that shows both promise and potential. If you are on the lookout for a potent and hard-hitting little opus that will flush your winter holiday right down the toilet and leave you in a foul mood, then you need not look any further than The Dark Spectrum. It may not be the most original or innovative thing you will hear in 2021, but trust me when I say that this is a satisfyingly grim listening experience and definitely one that I will keep coming back to again and again.