Specters by Dead Neanderthals

Release date: August 4, 2023
Label: Utech Records

Specters is the second collaboration between the Dutch duo Dead Neanderthals (Otto Kokke, René Aquarius) and US metal band Skeletonwitch founder and guitarist Scott Hedrick. After their first collaborative album Ghosts (2019, Utech Records) they got the opportunity to play on the 2020 edition of the acclaimed Roadburn festival, which unfortunately was cancelled due to the global pandemic. Instead of leaving things as they were, the trio started immediately to write their follow-up album.

To be honest Ghosts didn’t give us a wow feeling at all, but on the other hand the album expressed a chemistry to be built on. Well, Specters really shows us what to expect from the collaboration between Dead Neanderthals and Hedrick. We get two long layered tracks punched in the stomach with a keen psychedelic density.

Aquarius creates a base of hypnotic and repetitive charged drum patterns in which Kokke fuses his synth weaves and Kendrik his guitar patterns. The album has not only heavy post-rock, free core and shoegaze parts. Specters let us hear a wall of sound with luxuriant sound textures combining and experimenting with different elements of metal, electronica and minimalism.

Aquarius’s tight and riffing drum work gives a feeling (mostly on ‘Necrology’) like there is a rhythm guitar playing next to Hedrick. We can only say that the trio did their home work with a creative mind blowing album as a result. Dead Neanderthals always liked to test their musical boundaries in the past and they are still doing it. Hedrick deserves kudos with his fascinatingly layered guitar work that pushes this album to the more extreme music spectrum.

Anyway, Specters is a highly recommended album to anyone who is interested in heavy layered dope music.

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