Review by Tara on April 28, 2016.
Skáphe² is the second album from black metal duo Skáphe. In 2014, A.P., known for his work in black metal acts Chaos Moon, Esoterica and Krieg released the first Skáphe album which was met with praise and success. Since then, the budding solo project from A.P. has turned into a duo with the addition of D.G. (from Iceland's Misþyrming and Naðra) on vocals. It is with this second album that the band has taken their sound to an entirely new level of darkness and despair.
Skáphe² contains six untitled tracks that can only be described as pure terror. It is an intense listen from start to finish, a solid balance of chaotic atmosphere with plenty of temporal fluctuations. Best compared to an abstract piece of art, some will not understand the appeal while others will be immediately hooked in. Not only is the music itself varied but the vocals are some of the best I've heard in recent black metal. The demonic shrieks and howls from D.G. help establish the overall mood of this psychedelically hellish mindfuck. To better prepare yourself for the journey, have a look at the cover artwork. The striking red and black composition couldn't be more explicit about what is to be expected from the music you're about to hear.
Overall, Skáphe² will take a few listens in order to totally absorb because it is very different and complex. It is as frightening as it is beautiful and has managed to combine all the things that make truly great black metal.