Aug 2020 01

Album CoverSPK
Album: Zamia Lehmanni (Songs of Byzantine Flowers)
Category: Dark Ambient / Industrial
Label: Cold Spring
Release Date: 2019-11-22


SPK remains a rather mysterious group of musicians whose evolving and often unsettling sound bears the mark of leader Graeme Revell’s distinct influence. If you’ve ever heard any of his scores for such movies as The Crow, Pitch Black, Spawn, The Craft, or dozens more, you may recognize Revell’s mournful compositional style. Formed in 1978 in Australia, SPK’s discography was not limited to one sound as the band’s first endeavors came in the form of pure industrial noise, eventually evolving into new wave electro-pop in the later part of the ‘80s; somewhere in between, the group released a few singles that landed somewhere in the realms of the ambient genre, which is where this record comes in. Originally released in 1986, Zamia Lehmanni (Songs of Byzantine Flowers) is a collection of cinematic ambient songs that could potentially be the soundtrack to a gritty industrial version of Dante’s Inferno. The songs have very little structure and rely on the use of strong atmospheric moods. The opening track, “Invocation to Secular Heresies” evokes a very ritualistic experience with synthetic trumpets and droning sounds paired with the chanting of a choir of men and the indistinct utterances of what sounds like a digitally altered shaman’s voice. Keeping with the unsettling spiritual theme, “Palms Crossed in Sorrow” feels like a dream-state descent into purgatory. The album’s apex lies within “In Flagrante Delicto” and the intro that precedes it – the operatic, ethereal voice of the woman singing is complemented by the sounds of mournful strings and various ambient drones. There is beauty in the funerary aura of these two songs that words fail to describe. The outro to this album, “The Doctrine of Eternal Ice” feels like the end of a bad trip. It’s a cacophonous mélange of slow percussion, bells, and ominous vocalizations. Not geared for those in favor of something that is easy listening, Zamia Lehmanni (Songs of Byzantine Flowers) is a beautifully dark work of art, expertly remastered by Martin Bowes at The Cage, and finally given the proper widespread release it deserves.
Track list:

  1. Invocation to Secular Heresies
  2. Palms Crossed in Sorrow
  3. Romanz in Moll (Romance In a Minor Key)
  4. In the Dying Moments
  5. In Flagrante Delicto (Introduction)
  6. In Flagrante Delicto
  7. Alocasia Metallica
  8. Necropolis
  9. Garden of Earthly Delights
  10. The Doctrine of Eternal Ice

Graeme Revell
Cold Spring
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Samantha Garcia (SGarcia37)

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