The Spectre Beneath Discusses the Past and the Present!

Power progressive band THE SPECTRE BENEATH has had an interesting past up until the present day, releasing material over sometime. The band discusses how they got their name, sound, and what has bee released and what they have up next for newer music and other plans for them.

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

In January 2019 Pete had finished an album with his other band, ‘Plague and the Decay’, in which Consta plays. When writing song for the next Plague and the Decay album, he noticed the style was more melodic and accessible but quite bombastic and heavy at the same time. It was a slight shift in tone band and he felt adding a female voice would bring out the melodic side even more. He brought on board long-time collaborator, Katy Lennon, to add extra nuance to the melodies and ensure the top lines and backing vocals were suitable for a female voice. He knew Consta had the drumming chops for the faster and more intricate material and he agreed to come on board. Pete then found L Lockser from an online demo. Having power and subtlety in equal measure, L Lockser was a perfect fit for the hard hitting but melodic approach Pete had in mind. Thanks to L Lockser’s diverse range of influences, she was not restrained by Metal’s rubber stamp approach and brought a unique flavour to the band’s sound.

In September 2019 our debut album, The Downfall of Judith King, was released to amazing feedback. When lockdown happened in early 2020 we decided to record the follow up utilizing distance recording and we released, The New Identity of Sidney Stone, in November 2020. Again, it was met with critical acclaim and was picked up by WormHoleDeath records who re-released it worldwide in May 2021.

With the world still in lock down, Pete and Katy kept writing and recording started for album number three, however, when it came to the vocals, something did not feel right. L Lockser was having trouble with her throat and, upon advice from the doctors and her vocal coach, she stepped down from vocal duties in late 2021, health always comes first.

The loss of one of the band’s unique elements was a devastating blow and there was talk of retiring the project. Yet, the band’s belief in the new material gave them the impetus to continue. 

After a very lengthy and frustrating search to find someone who could fill the chasm left by L Lockser, the band were blown away by Stevie’s vocal ability. With a background in rock, country and soul, the band were unsure if they could stick the landing twice with a vocalist who was not directly from the metal genre. Taking the gamble, they asked if she would be interested in singing some songs and, to the band’s delight, she agreed. 

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

It just happened one day. Pete is a big Bond fan and has a hat with the Spectre logo on it which he wears every time he takes his dog out. We thought the word was strong but it needed something else as there are other bands called Spectre. It was the film What Lies Beneath which sealed the deal as it was on television at the time so we put the two together and voila! Something just clicked.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

The Spectre Beneath is based out of the North-West of England, however, vocalist Stevie is currently in America. We have to be honest and admit we don’t follow the music scene in our area. However, living so close to Manchester we spend a lot of time going there to live shows where the live music scene is very healthy as Manchester is a frequent stop off point for bands doing tours of the UK. On the other hand, one band we would recommend from the area is Boss Keloid, very heavy, lots of big riffs.

4. How would you describe your style?

We were coined Power/Prog metal in the first ever review for our debut album and it’s probably a fair summing up. If you like power metal and progressive metal but don’t want to go too far in either direction, The Spectre Beneath maybe for you. Definitely all clean vocals to allow the melodies to shine and allow for some big harmony choruses. We certainly have fast songs and lots of melody but also longer more involved tracks. However, under the surface there is certainly an undercurrent of thrash especially with the pace and twisting riffs as Pete is big fan of bands like Overkill, Forbidden, Testament and Annihilator. We like to think it’s that element which stops The Spectre Beneath from falling too far into the cheesy tropes of Power Metal and the over indulgence of Prog. We definitely don’t have layers of keyboards either, even though drummer Consta tries to squeeze some in. Apart from some piano and a few atmospheric hums, we try and keep the music riff and vocal focused. 

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

We released our debut album ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ in 2019. From a thematic point of view, our lyrics are like flash fiction in song form, we’re not great at writing real world topics and touchy-feely stuff, we like our stories. There are a handful of connected songs centered around Judith King, a woman plotting revenge for something that happened in her past. We also like to use sound FX where it’s suitable to create atmosphere and to enhance the subject of the song. For example, the song ‘Teach Yourself Guitar (Step 2)’ does have an extract from a teach yourself guitar CD which came from the front of the magazine of the same name. It cost us $100 for permission to use that clip.

We followed it up in 2020 with ‘The New Identity of Sidney Stone’. The album is in 2 parts, the first half is stand-alone rockers, whereas the second half is five linked songs about a guy called Sidney Stone whose death if faked and then is buried alive. The album is fast in places, heavy in others but also quite dark as well. WormHoleDeath records who called it a masterpiece and re-released it world-wide in May 2021.

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

Oh yes, most definitely. We have a mini-LP out later this year with 6 songs on it. We have the next album planned out and we would say 70% of it is written. There are some killer riffs in the mix, fast songs, moody songs and a song called Germ which has a sleazy groove which is something new for The Spectre Beneath. After two and a half years without releasing anything we are keen to get more music out there. After releasing the mini-LP hopefully around July/August time, we’d like to finish writing the new album and get it recorded before Easter 2024.

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

Live shows have not entered the equation yet because we’ve been focused regrouping after losing a singer and trying to find a new one.  With Pete supplying bass duties and most of the guitars on the album, we’d need some extra troops to complete a gigging line-up. However, we’d love to bring The Spectre Beneath to the live arena but we’re still consolidating as well as writing and recording.

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

As mentioned, we have a mini-album out later this year, hopefully towards the end of summer. We’re currently writing the next full-length release which we want to have completed by Easter of 2024, sooner hopefully.  After those two albums we’d like to tell the full Sidney Stone story as we have twelve songs mapped out for that. Also, once we have a completed line-up, it’d be nice to squeeze some live performances in as well at some point as that’s the aspect of music we all miss.

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

The Spectre Beneath can be listened to from all the usual streaming platform with the digital album being available to buy from Amazon and Apple. If you are after physical copies, they are available at our Bandcamp site.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

We’d like the listener to remember the way The Spectre Beneath blends heavy, fast, sometimes thrashy riffing with melodic, sassy female vocals. We realize this is nothing new in the realms of metal, but we try not to compromise on, for example, length of intros, harmony solos, pace, the quirkiness of the lyrics and themes and the use of sound FX. All of that, we feel, enables us to carve our own little corner in the metal genre.

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