Lurker of Chalice

Lurker of Chalice is a side project of Wrest, who’s probably best known outside of the black metal underground for his Burzum-like alter ego Leviathan. That stuff’s relentlessly bleak, its drum work spitting like a storm of acid rain. But with Lurker of Chalice, Wrest proves curious about the textures inside that darkness. He doesn’t rely on black metal’s monochromatic pummel. Instead chords linger like inky fog, church organs hiss, and on “Paramnesia,” there’s even some scattering drum programming that suggests a dark arts collaboration between Wrest and fellow San Franciscan DJ Shadow. As opposed to the unholy scream of most black metal vocals, Lurker incorporates unsettling a cappella chants and even some actual singing. But mostly, as on “Minions” or the white noise blizzard “Piercing Where They Might,” Wrest’s vocals are a faraway murmur, like announcements over hell’s public address system. Ultimately the album’s longest songs are its most incredible. “Blood Falls as Mortal, Part III” and “Minions” are terrifically experimental, incorporating everything from Scandinavian heavy metal to ambient and to the gothic noise of Swans. Lurker of Chalice is not for everyone, certainly not the easily scared. But as a truly dark but consistently creative sound document, it’s amazing.

Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].

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