Johannesburg, South Africa: Symphonic Black Metal band, Spectral Realm, is coming back with a second album after its 2015 debut with Voyage To Spectral Realm. Yesterday, ‘Ambiguous Quest’ appeared as the first single from the coming work; another full length, and going by the title of Spectral Witch of the Hex River.
Spectral Witch of the Hex River
Of course, Spectral Realm is not the first band to examine this fascinating piece of South African lore. However, this is the first time it’ll be fleshed out with the no holds barred phantasmal flamboyancy of Symphonic Black Metal. A band member explained the inspiration to M4A:
“The album is a concept album based upon the South African legend about the Witch of the Hex River Valley; a fable set in the 18th century, surrounded by the majestic landscapes of the Matroos Mountains in the Western Cape.” ~ Septic Sceptre (vocals, Spectral Realm)
Septic tells us that the story line has been enriched with darker fantasy elements to encompass a haunting, tragic and romantic culmination of atmosphere.
“Since there are not a lot of historic facts to be obtained about the legend, I felt that we needed to add a twist and some context to the story.” ~ Septic Sceptre
A first for Spectral Realm is the inclusion of some Afrikaans-language lyrics on Spectral Witch of the Hex River, so as to tie in more authentically compliment the folklore and its origins. In South Africa, the legend is better known by its native language title: Heks van die Exeriviervallei.
“Listeners can expect an elaborate tale that will ultimately be filled with intricate song structures, a myriad of guitar solos and emotion-ladened mystery built around the subtle (and not so subtle) keyboard parts.” ~ Septic Sceptre
First single: Ambiguous Quest
‘Ambiguous Quest’ forms up the “third Chapter” in the telling of the enriched tale. Spectral Witch of the Hex River kicks off by realting the story of Eliza Meiring’s parents and the farm they would call their home, then developing from there.
“I felt that I had to give background on Eliza’s pride and the tasks given to her suitors. The best way I thought of doing so, was by bringing in a driving source behind her “possession of pride.” I chose Asmodeus as one of the fallen angels, or one of the Seven Princes of Hell. The Demon of Lust.” ~ Septic Sceptre
This song – or chapter, as it is described – revolves around the fallen angel finding interest in the beauty of mankind’s women. Asmodeus truly fell in love with a woman, but this was frowned upon by his brethren. As he was exposed to have true feelings for a mortal, he was banished to spend eternity neither mortal nor immortal.
“Thousands of years later, the spirit of Asmodeus felt the presence of a newborn child – Eliza – and entered the mortal realm once more. Asmodeus, in my rendition of the legend, was instrumental in the unfolding tragedy.” ~ Septic Sceptre
The stunning artwork for Spectral Witch of the Hex River is delivered by the Indonesian artist at Tombkick Illustration.