Severed Receptors is a 5-piece female fronted black metal band formed from the ashes of Psychobliss. Their self-titled demo is the band’s first release under this new name, and provides 5 full tracks (plus an intro) of black metal with varying influences, including but not limited to symphonic black metal, atmospheric black metal, and more straight forward sounding black metal. One of the major distinctive forces of the band is lead vocalist Kyla Stollings, who is able to easily switch between clean and harsh vocals. Her harsh vocals are fantastic; they have that classic black metal rasp. While not as potent as someone like Abbath, they are somewhat similar in tone. The clean vocals, on the other hand, are a bit of a mixed bag. From a technical perspective, she definitely has the ability to notes and control her voice, but it sometimes feels like she isn’t going after the right notes. Perhaps this is meant to enhance to atmosphere, but these clean vocals sound just a bit off.
The rest of the band is pretty standard given the genre, but offer just enough diversity to be interesting. They abuse tremolo picking and blast beats (as they should in this style). Luckily, however, the entire album isn’t just blasting. In fact, there is quite a bit of variation in the drumming. Another way this release is a bit more memorable than your typical black metal record is through the use of interludes. Quite a few songs use them in various parts; for example, the outro to “Nothing Remains”, and the intro to “Blood Descendants” both feature nice symphonic pieces. The riffs occasionally deviate from speedy numbers, such as on the opening riff to “I Become The Night”, which shows some chugging of dissonant notes. In terms of songwriting, none of these tracks are amongst black metal’s highlights. While “Blood Descendants” is certainly the best track, even that song is unlikely to bring you back to this demo time and time again unless you are a big black metal fan. Whether or not this says more for my taste for the genre is up for debate, but ultimately, Severed Receptors is appealing because of their somewhat unique identity rather than their songwriting.
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3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott