22 Jul 2021 - Knut
Atmospheric Avantgarde Post Jazz Metal | Dark Essence Records | Release date: 26 Feb 2021
The dark ambient and mesmerizing music of this album is as multilayered as the meaning of the band´s name is. If you look into the name, you will soon find yourself deep into Tarot cards, Greek mythology and beyond. And if you let yourself follow on down into the dark ornamented streams of their music, you will be immersed in an ethereal dark hypnotic soundscape.
This is the band´s second full-length. In between, since the debut in 2017, there have been the Magnetic Sleep Tapes where the band explored the ambient soundscape they introduced to us on Over Phlegethon. On this second album they have left the progressive sides of their debut more or less behind them, and they venture further into dark soundscapes that defy any genre for those who have to place a band in one. If pressed, one might mark it as Atmospheric Avantgarde Post Jazz Metal. But even that does not give credit for how multi-layered this album is and how multi-talented the musicians are.
Throughout the album the heavy, soft, dark slow bass guitar leads the melodic theme that flows through the album. The drums are equally heavy and the guitars join in the mix with heavy fuzz and distortion yet never missing the melodic theme. And above it all there is a saxophone soaring. This is highly inventive music that invokes the sounds of Swans, Neurosis, Tangerine Dream, Frank Zappa, Dead Can Dance, Jan Garbarek´s work with the Belonging quartet, Van der Graaf Generator, Hawkwind, Zu – the list is almost endless. But their ultra-modern experimental shadow-like music is the result of a band that is creative and imaginative and has developed its own distinct sound.
Sound effects lure us into the first song ”Leaf in the Current”, soon to be overtaken by the heavy bass guitar playing the musical theme that will flow throughout the album. Quiet clean guitars prepare for the saxophone to softly enter the soundscape. The music lingers on for some time before the very heavy Neurosis-like guitar begins to play the musical theme and the bass goes even deeper and darker. The saxophone gets stronger, revolving around the music. And as the music flows, you see how fitting the cover illustration is. Just as on the previous album they have used a painting of the legendary Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum where the aureate glimmer.
The first song shifts tempo, becomes faster and heavier and you hear indistinct spoken words by the poet Ezra Pound. And you really feel that you are in some kind of musical interpretation of a stream-of-consciousness. The music quiets down and prepares us to flow into the next song, ”Fire From Frozen Cloud”. It begins with fingerpicking on the guitar and a mellow saxophone over an ambient soundscape. The music flows along and prepares the ground for the heavy guitars that burst when picking up the musical theme soon joined by all the other instruments. At this point, some listeners might say it is too repetitive and monotonous as the melody is quite distinct and memorable in each song. But a couple of listens in and one discovers the exact opposite, and that might be due to the abundance of instruments the band uses to create their unmistakable and shapeshifting soundscape.
The shapeshifting idea continues in the next songs ”Berceuse” and ”Pale Flares Over Marshes”. The first one naturally a bit mellow because it is, after all, a song for the night, a lullaby meant to bring you to sleep. These two songs might be the ones where the use of many unusual instruments really creates a hemisphere of sound over the theme and the other instruments. In the mix of all the songs there are a musical saw, violin, zither, dungchen, omnichord, noisebox, djembe, tabla, triangle, guirro, death whistle to name a few. The use of all these instruments reminds me in a way of the influential psychedelic jazz-rock-fuse-band from way back Gong, and maybe also Mike Oldfield. And the drums (or it’s probably timpanis) that introduces ”Pale Flares Over Marshes” stretches back to the monumental drumming on Tangerine Dream´s Alpha Centauri. On this song we float along with the melodic theme aided by chunky guitars making a massive immersive soundscape.
When a band in the musical spectre of “something-metal” uses the saxophone as a distinct instrument, jazz always comes to mind, as it does with bands like Zu from Italy and Shining from Norway. On the last song ”The Hierophant II” they leave the albums´s musical theme behind and venture deep into the Free Jazz of Jan Garbarek, Ornette Coleman, Mel Waldron and Miles Davis - almost completely leaving the Post Metal feel behind them. A perfect closer for an impressive musical effort this album brings to the scene.
The last album Leonard Cohen made before his death is You want it darker. Maybe Five the Hierophant took this literally and made Through Aureate Void darker and deeper than the previous without leaving behind their inventive take on music. One can only speculate.