Johannesburg, South Africa: it’s finally here! Spectral Witch Of The Hex River is the long awaited second album by symphonic black metal locals, Spectral Realm.
2nd Album: Spectral Witch Of The Hex River
Spectral Realm releases Spectral Witch Of The Hex River five years following it’s debut full-length: The Voyage to Spectral Realm. Our first taste of what was to come with the album released today arrived two years ago; the single track and art reveal with ‘Ambiguous Quest’.
A member of the band describes how Spectral Realm was inspired by concept albums to do one of its own. The influences range from the likes of Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, through to Cradle of Filth’s Cruelty and the Beast and all Carach Angren’s albums; and this the band’s case, there is a great inspiration from local folklore to create such an album.
“We strongly felt a connection to the legend of the Witch of the Hex River Valley. As a young boy, I heard of this legend whilst travelling with the family on the Trans Karoo train. Before the late 80’s, the train did not travel through all the Hex River Tunnels. A large section was traveled over the Hex River rail pass. The scenic beauty and the tragic tale were enough reasons to write a concept metal album about.” ~ Septic Sceptre (vocals, Spectral Realm)
Of course, true of all folklore tales, there are usually several versions based around an original concept. Aware of this, Spectral Realm indulges in full artistic license on Spectral Witch Of The Hex River.
“There are a few variations of the legend that transpired since the early 1900’s, but we felt that it had to be told with a bit of science fiction to give it a real dark feel.” ~ Septic Sceptre
More about the album
All lyrics are written by Septic Sceptre except for the final track that was written by Lord Onyr (guitarist and brother of Septic Sceptre). Lord Onyr also recorded the vocals for this track.
“The aim was to write a short story, adapted to fit in nicely with Lord Onyr’s song writing and musical arrangements, and to keep listeners interested to hear how the story unfolds. Each song follows on from the previous, until the tragic ending.” ~ Septic Sceptre
There is only one stand-alone track, ‘The Ambiguous Quest’, which was released as a single/lyric video in 2018. The song breaks away from the actual story; instead offering insight into the history of the demon which possessed the main character of the tale.
The album also sports a few surprises with use of a South African native language; a feature which occurs more and more readily in local metal content of recent years.
“Since the lyrics are based on a South African ghost story, it just felt appropriate to write some verses in Afrikaans.” ~ Septic Sceptre
On the musical front, Spectral Realm‘s key writer, Lord Onyr, aimed for a heavy, dark and dreamlike undertone. Septic Sceptre describes the current album as really having pushed the envelope from the debut album’s sound.
“Not only is there an expanded emphasis on mesmerizing guitar solos, but the symphonic keyboards round off an elaborate tale, drenched in fantasy and macabre emotions.” ~ Septic Sceptre
For the new work, Spectral Realm returned to the lair of Calvyn and Allen Purkiss, Dreamlab Studios. Get Spectral Witch Of The Hex River via bandcamp.
Connect with the band Spectral Realm on Facebook