“Stirpe Obscura”
Grotesque Music

For years, the legions of Spanish black metal, or, El Legions de Negro perhaps, have been actively pumping out black metal that’s more “true” than most Norwegian bands can ever hope to be. The rawness, the spirit and tons of pure blasting metal is ever-present on Spellcraft’s first full-length in their decade+ old existence, “Stirpe Obscura.” 

Title track “Stirpe Obscura” starts things off with a ten-minute journey to black metal greatness. It’s all topped off with instruments that sound like they’ve been recorded in an igloo and some “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” worship with the dark forest atmosphere and vocalist Midgard’s groaning screams. Of course, the prevalent Dark Funeral/Marduk influence is very hard to ignore, as it’s spread out thick across the entire album and it takes away from the music, because you begin to compare these guys to Swedish bands.  I mean, with their own mix of Spanish groove, it still sounds like some Swedish blood just has to be pumping through these guy’s veins. The band use some melodic and even some symphonic tones, like in “Crossing the Seventh Gate,” so this is not for people who don’t like that floating around in their black metal.

With all of this praise, “Stirpe Obscura” isn’t without its flaws. For one, the title track diminishes in power overtime, as it clocks in at over ten minutes long, which is way too much for Spellcraft’s style. Also, some of the songs do sound repetitive at times, with “riffage” sounding a bit too familiar to each other, despite the various tempo and style changes. A ton of these songs are from older demos and with a clean start next time around, the band promises to be a memorable act. 

Spellcraft isn’t the best that Spain has to offer, but it sure is a highlight of the scene. Other than that, next time you’re in the mood for some black metal, Europe shouldn’t be the only place you turn to. South America, as has been proven time and time again, is equipped with an extremely loyal fanbase of black metalheads and has an army or two of dedicated bands like Spellcraft to make the Scandinavians weep freezing tears of envious woe.