Genre: Dark Ambient, Nightmare Fuel
Label: Malignant Records
Do you want to have an awful night? If so, listen to Abjection Ritual’s ‘Futility Rites‘ while you’re alone. My night went from me being bored beyond belief to the point of going, “Man, it’s been so long since I wrote a review, I should dust off the ol’ ‘In’ pile and see who I owe muchas disculpas to,” to jumping at every sound in the apartment that, before listening to ‘Futility Rites‘, I could identify as the refrigerator, the cat, the other cat and the stupid pipe that rattles under the floor whenever someone in our apartment row flushes their toilet…
After having my optimism obliterated, my self-esteem shish-kababed and my dreams dashed on the sonic rocks laid out by Abjection Ritual (three tracks in, which has got to be some kind of spirit breaking speed record), the malnourished nihilist side of me began to dig for scraps. It was hungry. It wanted more ‘Futility Rites‘. It had to dig past a unpleasant layer or two before it could feast, however.
It’s mostly just the vocals. They were great at shaking me up a bit when I first encountered them (my notes read “Raw. Fucking. Hatred.”), but they began to wear on me as the album progressed. I enjoyed the occasional soundbite from the odd televangelist (and the heart attack from “Objects of Wrath”) as well as the tonal respite that came with “Cum Immersion”, probably the least threatening, though still unnerving track offered.
If I haven’t made this clear yet, allow me to be blunt; this album is the very definition of intensity. To listen is to jump head first into the deep end of the derelict, dark ambient/death ambient pool. But in the end, if you have the emotional and mental fortitude, the “Entropic Embrace” of “Futility Rites” will welcome you into the “Tabernacle of Teeth and Tongues”…
Genre: Dark Ambient, Experimental
Label: Malignant Records
Fuck, man. How the hell am I supposed to review an album that chills me to my very core? I’ve been grappling with this notion for a couple of weeks and I figured that now is as good a time as any to get over my slump with some borderline unreviewable material. Enter Of Earth And Sun (a project manned by one Matthew Huntzker) and his offering, Uncoiled.
Uncoiled reminds me of Rasalhague‘s Rage Inside The Window in the way it can give me the physical heebies and psychological jeebies. Don’t get me wrong now, Uncoiled is more of a “death is an inevitable factor in the universe and there’s nothing you can do about it, so quit your bitching and enjoy the sounds of this bone flute,” where as Rage Inside The Window is more “JESUSFUCKWHYCAN’TIESCAPETHISMADNESS!??!” I guess what I’m getting at is that Uncoiled is one of only two dark ambient/experimental/etc albums that I NEED the lights on to listen to, because shit get intense.
The first two tracks acted as a set up, slowly lulling me with lower oscillator tones and slow almost medicinal beats as tension builds and releases to the unheard tempo of some greater life form’s heartbeat(s); and then we enter “Veil of Illumination”. The title sounds like it should be a light and comfortable experience, right? Well, if the sounds of the breath of the living passing through the bones of the dead is your ideal soundtrack to a relaxing canoe trip, more power to you. To me, it was nightmare fuel for a couple of nights! Worms made of pure energy entered and exited my skull as they saw fit as the ribcage of the family cat played host to a smaller version of its self that desperately tried to claw its way out.
I could easily do a track-by-track review of Uncoiled and share all of the soul twisting craziness my schizophrenic brain translates this music into, but I have a mountain of reviews to get to, so this is where I apply the breaks on the crazy train. Uncoiled is a trip and a half that can find footing in the libraries of fans of H.P. Lovecraft, Eraserhead, and all of that other shit that probably gets you put on a watchlist somewhere for something.
Genre: Dark Ambient
Label: Malignant Records
Having been a rabid fan of Yen Pox’s Blood Music (the 2010 two disc re-issue to be precise), you could easily say that I was more than a little excited to find Between the Horizon and the Abyss in my mailbox. The damnable duo of dark ambient is back in my library and ready to make the missus second guess coming to bed with me (Phelios, Yen Pox and False Mirror are regulars in my nightly rotation and she happens to find them, “scary”).
Between The Horizon And The Abyss starts off like just about every other dark ambient record you’ve ever heard; low rumble droning that gives way to small crackling noises and eventually synths and yadda yadda yadda. If you’re a fan of dark ambient/noise/drone/blech, you know the drill… wait, did a ping pong match break out during the recording of Cold Summer Sun? What the hell is that and why does it sound out of place, yet it feels like it fits right in as if it were guided by some kind of auditory feng shui?
The point is, Yen Pox takes what you thought you understood about this genre and the abilities of the various instruments therein and tears down the veil to reveal an infinitely expanding universe of sonic possibility and impossibility. It’s goddamned crazy, man.
I don’t think that I can make my admiration for this project any clearer than that, but I’ll just hammer the point home here in case you missed it: Yen Pox are fucking geniuses. Just shoot their next couple of albums into my veins…