Friday, August 13, 2010
My first listens to this album were done under heavy prescription sedatives and it was exactly I’d expect from the novel that it’s based off of by Stanislav Lem. An absolute science fiction experience is captured perfectly in these drifting and minimal, yet undeniably expressive tracks, so beware of the power that lies beneath the barren sounding surface of this album. If you are not careful it will abduct you, then again if you are careful it will still capture your mind and render you submissive to its alien prowess.
Okay, maybe it was the sedated and intoxicated mindset that enabled me to drift off to sleep to this and imagine a world of pure machinery, the opening track “Neutrino Radiation” is close to 20 minutes of humming, almost like what I’d imagine floating through space would sound like as everything slowly approaches and recedes from view and the solar winds blow across your skin. The actual coldness of space in most spots away from suns, reaching as low as near 0K or -273.15 °C, is equally manifested in the tone found on here and your skin should tingle a bit during the listening experience. As relaxing and drifting as this may sound as you listen through it, it is as mysterious and sinister as it appears not to be.
For at least the first two tracks His Masters Voice is celestial, minimal, and void of any emotion whatsoever, then with the third of the four tracks, “Interstellar Semantics”, there’s a minor shift to slight melody, although very slight and a hint of labelmate, Phelios, can be heard here as whooshes of analog synth brush your mind like an astral breeze as you are suspended and weightless and the volume increases dramatically as if you are actually approaching to land on a distant planet or star.
This ideal science fiction soundtrack comes to a colossal end with the magnum “Part 2-Ignoramus”, another twenty-some minute trip as was the opening only this time it’s more dramatic. In fact this is the most dramatic piece on the album and serves as the perfect end to this ambient narrative. When I think of space music I definitely envision something like what Phaenon has delivered here. For me I see the math and concepts come to life that describes the quantum world and all of it’s quirky and abstract ideas and it finally starts to make sense to me for a brief moment as it really isn’t supposed to if one truly understands it (?). Some say to get stoned, turn on some trippy space music like Tangerine dream or some trippy obscure prog act (which helps me out) and then try to fathom quantum physics, but perhaps they should just avoid the mind altering substances and turn up the volume on this one instead.
Yet again Malignant releases an incredible celestial experience that is as close as I can get to an out-of-body experience. Next to Phelios, Collapsar, Iszoloscope/AhCamaSotz Camanecroscope, and Oophi, this is will be one of my stand out sci-fi ambient releases and a definite somnium accompaniment. You even feel like you’re in a vacuum as you listen to it, it’s really undeniably awesome and just as thrilling when not under doctors ordered sedatives.
Defintely check this act out and Malignants other essentially mind melting releases to pulse your neurons out of commission, and also the artwork as that is always one of the ebst parts and this album is no exception.
I never get tired of atmospheric heavy music and regardless of how saturated the badly coined “shoe-gaze” metal genre gets there’s always an act like Year of No Light that captures that exact feeling in their sound. Fans of acts like: Nadja, Methadrone, Hallowed Butchery, Hellas Mounds, Neurosis, Minsk, and Mono will appreciate this one very much. To add to that list I also need to include: Ahab, Evoken, Alcest, Primordial, and Altar of Plagues as this is definitely a heavy storm of unrelenting destruction. Given the intensity of the sounds and my reasons for being engulfed into this massive void I will be best off taking this one apart track by track
“Persephone I”: Eleven minutes of one wandering through a wasteland, barren and complete uninhabited. You can feel the journey and looking for even a mirage to ease your loneliness, but there is none and you continue your aimless path through what appears as a never-ending journey. The sound is blissful and soothing but still very morose, you know something will happen and it’ll be tragic. It’s almost as if the end of the world did come and you were the sole survivor left to rummage through the remains and relive the horror.
“Persephone II” : Some of your burden form the last track is eased with a dramatically beautiful sound of discovery that something does exist and there might be a purpose for your travel afterall. This track is sort of the light at the end of the tunnel, but quickly dissolves into a sense of doom and dread halfway through the track. The guitar comes at you in crushing waves of doom-like riffs and the reverb guitar wails like a banshee from beneath the storm of chords crashing against you. So much for getting out of this one peacefully, or at all…
“Hierophante“: The surreal horror continues through dense melodies as you continue to unveil the misery that you will now absolute sadness, although it is very melodic there is a heavily draped layer of emptiness that clouds the track in a state of balc
“Absesse”: A haunting, atmospheric, instrumental departure from the conscious state of being into the true reality of isolation and spiraling rapidly into a dark crevasse as you come to the horrid, yet relieving realization that your life was in fact rather mundane and uneventful until now, but alas it is over. This is one powerful end to a heavy album in terms of sound and weight of atmosphere so definitely jump on getting this one, especially those who are skeptics and avoid this genre for reasons mentioned already. Really great stuff!!!!
I somehow lucked out in my weird and random hunts for new and amazing metal albums when I found this bands album Images of Forgotten Memories on the Shadow Kingdom website last summer and continually find myself gravitating toward it frequently. This band is one of those that cannot be easily pegged as being anything but themselves being equal parts symphonic metal, doom, melodic metal, and just heavy and atmospheric, maybe throw some non-cheesy folk metal/pagan influence in as well and you get somewhere close to their sound.
Why they are a bit obscure is hard to say, then again why do bands like Manilla Road, Stygian Shore, and Enchanter only get notoriety by those few of us that actually have discerningly good taste in heavy tunes? The only reason that I’m reviewing this one is that this two-track single is the most recent in their catalog, but everything that they have done so far to date is as epic and intense and worthy of recognition. Armed with non-cliché poetic lyrics, crisp and memorable melodies, some symphonic and prog notes, and shredding metallic mayhem this Swedish battalion comes at you “hard and fast” (as said by the great Cirith Ungol in “100mph”) and stays true to its metal roots while proving that pagan and symphonic metal can still steadily swing a battle axe and sever your head in a fraction of a second.
I lucked out and Frederik Wallin got back to my email recently to do an interview and sent me some of their back catalog to review and enjoy. I’ll be ordering those form them very soon for sure and as always want to give my humble thanks to those who are humble and yet so talented in themselves, as are these folks and many of you out there. So check into this band, find out where to get some of their releases (Frederik even said they were a bit hard to track down) or ask me and I’ll see about hooking folks up as I always find out how to get stuff “officially” and for a good price, and support good metal and music, without it many if not all of us reading this would be lost and better off dead. This band gives a refreshing reincarnation and much needed update to the idea and sound of “epic”, so don’t expect Blind Guardian theatrics here, this shouldn’t induce vomiting for too many of you.
For those who, like myself, enjoy the darkest atmospheres, minimal ambient, and soundscapes that ignite within the listener the most disturbing images and sensations, or just a pseudo-psychedelic nightmare in a semi-conscious vein will definitely thrive on this release. Sort of like dark ambient metal era Burzum heard on Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Hlidskjalf, Sadael crafts sophisticated yet minimal funeral doom with a keyboard some doses of heavy guitar. Essentially the result can be summed up as the ultimate in funereal ambient metal, “Thoughts of Suicide” alone will convince even the most stubborn of naysayers that this artist understands the full extent of darkness and despair. At times the vocals growl, howl, shriek, and gurgle as if choking on blood through distorted and drawn out down-tuned chords that rattle through the bowels of hell with each strum.
Anyone out there looking for the next absolutely grim, stripped down, haunting, cryptic, and chilling to the point of making ones bones ache release will not want to miss this one. Armenian based and limited to only about 100 copies, Sadael delivers to you the pure blood freezing experience of death with Essence. This sort of what I Shalt Become is heading toward with their latest release Poison and can be expected to entice fans of: Xasthur, Velvet Cacoon, My Dying Bride, Esoteric, Hellveto, Catacombs, and anything slightly related. Also highly recommended if not essential to fans of the dark ambient/dark folk sounds as am I.
I’ve been considering closing down my website that caters to this style as so many have flaked on me as of lately, but with so much great stuff being created and labels like this one and Steinklang/Ahnstern and a few others depending on it, I might just keep it going a bit longer. So if you like what you’re reading, check this artist out further, it’s absolutely worth it!!!!