Tag: Cathedralic

Anemone Tube/Post Scriptvm – Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes – Review

Artist: Anemone Tube / Post Scriptvm
Album: Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes
Release date: 1 December 2016
Label: The Epicurean / La Escencia

01. Anemone Tube – Myth and the Relation to the World
02. Anemone Tube – Recueillement (Sa Propre Mort)
03. Anemone Tube – Irruption of the Whore
04. Post Scriptvm – Buried in Fabula
05. Post Scriptvm – Dark and Nameless Gods
06. Post Scriptvm – Laterne D’Horreur (Lantern of Horror)

Anemone Tube & Post Scriptvm are two well known and respected post-industrial projects which have been releasing music on various labels for well over a decade each. In 2012, The Epicurean label was formed, releasing many of the subsequent works by both of these musical projects. When listening to either Anemone Tube or Post Scriptvm, followers will usually expect deeply complex soundscapes which often fall on the harsher spectrum of the dark ambient, power electronics or death industrial genres. Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes will likely be a surprising release for many, as the sounds on this album are vastly subdued in comparison to the usual sonic intensity of either project.

As a fan of dark ambient that dabbles in death industrial and power electronics, I found Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes to be an exceedingly interesting album. The theme of this opus combined with the funereal dreary soundscapes immediately attracted my attention. Early on in my considering this release for review, I realized that the vinyl version would likely be the optimal listening format for such a work. Upon purchase of that vinyl, I can say that this theory has proven accurate, and I highly recommend any reader that enjoys the themes and/or sounds herein to consider purchasing a copy of the incredibly well-crafted vinyl version of this release. The album would be classified as a “split release”, but I urge listeners to think of this as one whole unified musical experience. The album progresses through the six tracks in a way that feels natural and brings the vision of both artist to fruition without a clash of interests or jarring shift in structure.

Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes takes its inspiration from a classical style of ritual music which, instead of inducing a positive euphoria in its Christian listeners, induced feelings of “dread, existential anxiety and feelings of death and decay”, as these musicians aptly describe it. Anemone Tube & Post Scriptvm decided to create their own ‘Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes’ or, in English, ‘Discordant Death Litanies’ as this seemed particularly appropriate for their musical tastes combined with our infatuation and mad-dash toward an apocalyptic end-time.

Anemone Tube takes the first half/side of the album. Their music, as alluded to previously, is extremely subdued in comparison to the works which I have come to recognize as representative of their trademark sound. The first track “Myth and the Relation to the World” is quite simplistic, consisting of the sounds of some distorted chants and haunted choirs backed by peaceful yet brooding drone-work. It is followed by the equally subdued “Recueillement (Sa Propre Mort)”, which translates to something like Contemplation (His/Her Own Death) in English. This track again features a slowly shifting drone-scape which seems to originate from some lonely-sounding horn. Both of these tracks leave ample room for the listener to become lost in thought, pondering the meaning of life… and death, or to simply meditate on the sounds.

“Irruption of the Whore” is the first move into the more anxiety driven, disturbed soundscapes, which will fully blossom on the Post Scriptvm half of the release. The track consists of bells which shift and distort, a hollow airy drone floating subtly in the background. As the intensity increases further into the track, we hear raspy noises and sounds akin to haunting voices. Chains seem to rattle in the background as other industrial noises combine to form what almost could be considered a percussive beat. This beat, as we move over to the second half, will translate into a beating heart, which provides a foundation for the first of the Post Scriptvm tracks.

Post Scriptvm will gradually build upon the intensity that was introduced in “Irruption of the Whore”. “Buried in Fabula” starts with a contorted passage which seems to have religious undertones. A heartbeat builds the foundation, before drones enter the fold, which blend miraculously well into the sounds of haunted choirs. Feedback and white-noise moves in and out of the mix adding a further sense of anxiety and dread. The sense of increasing anxiety bleeds into the following track, “Dark and Nameless Gods”. Spoken word continues as well from the previous track, with sparse words which are hard to separate from the mix, but give an added measure of darkness and dread to the composition.

The final track, “Laterne D’Horreur”, which translates to English as “Lantern of Horror”, is certainly the apex of Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes. This track continues to descend into darkness and apocalyptic despair. The sounds have an almost futuristic sort of sci-fi feel to them. Field recordings of what sounds like wolves howling cut unexpectedly into the mix. Contorted synths give an effect as if they are raspy gasps for air from some dæmoniac creature. The track slowly subdues and descends into a harsh noise, that never becomes prominent as it mingles with what sounds like cries and cats screaming in terror. This may all sound as if it has become absurd, like some 50s horror film, and indeed it does feel reminiscent of something akin to this, yet it manages to keep its intended atmosphere as well as its integrity throughout this strange experience.

Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes is clearly a triumph for these two veteran artists. The album succeeds in its attempts at creating an atmosphere of religious blasphemy, a kind of funeral music for the dark-minded and irreligious. For a veteran listener of dark ambient and other weird and “spooky” music, I’m delighted to say that Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes manages to instill an unsettling feeling of dread and anxiety in my soul, a feat that is not often achieved. Listen to Litaniæ Mortuorum Discordantes in the midnight hours, alone in the dark, incense burning and mind open to the dark entities of the night. Or, if it is possible, play this in a cathedralic setting, and witness the utter disgust and terror of some unsuspecting clergy, the effect should be a delight to witness.

Written by: Michael Barnett

Metatron Omega – Illuminatio – Review

Artist: Metatron Omega
Album: Illuminatio
Release date: 26 September 2017
Label: Cryo Chamber

01. Ecclesia Universalis
02. Heosphoros
03. Illuminatio
04. Thy Light
05. Mysteriis De Sanguine
06. Sacrum Noctis
07. Chalice of Eternity

Metatron Omega made their debut on Cryo Chamber in mid-2015 with the album Gnosis Dei. Gnosis Dei was a tour de force in esoteric/gnostic dark ambient music. Thick reverberating drones set the background accompanied by the deep voice of Scorpio V reciting religious texts as if he were raised above some post-apocalyptic congregation. The music speaks its dark sermon directly to the listener. Whether Scorpio V felt that he’d said enough on Gnosis Dei or he decided that spoken word vocals were unnecessary to his ultimate vision, he moved away from this style on the two following albums: Sanctum and this latest release Illuminatio. Sanctum doubled down on the atmospheric, choral and chant components leaving the actual reading of religious texts to the listener and instead providing an ever deeper and denser backdrop to their pious esoteric meanderings.

On Illuminatio, Scorpio V takes all that he learned from Sanctum and further refines these elements. The raison d’être-esque chants and choral elements become even more polished on this release. The voices of this dark choir are at times beautiful at others they are distorted and almost take on a daemonic quality. The foundational elements of drone drenched in a thick layer of reverb have a consistent density. This dense atmosphere brings the darkest images to the mind, as if we, the listeners, were part of this gnostic congregation of the damned. One may easily imagine the remnants of a glorious cathedral, pews rotting and wormridden. The congregation dressed in filthy damp rags, shivering in their seats as a cold and musty wind blows through the collapsed ceiling. An unholy choir stand in the chancel delivering their contorted hymns as a thick cloud of frankincense floats between them and the onlooking crowd. The smoke, burning the eyes and lungs of the congregation, at least masking the noxious odor of mold and decay.

These dark occult images of are likely to materialize differently for each listener. One’s position on religion will likely dictate their reaction to and understanding of the presented soundscapes. Scorpio V focuses his art on what appears to be a well thought-out version of gnosticism, so from his perspective, their is likely a direct religious element to these tracks. This sentiment is likely to be shared with a vast number of his followers. For those of us completely devoid of religious leanings, this Metatron Omega trilogy draws images of the end of religious order, the last sermons and hymns of a dying congregation, making one last pious attempt at reaching the ears of the gods in a broken and dying world. Whatever your thoughts on religion, just as with those classic raison d’être albums, there is plenty of reason to enjoy the beauty of these works. Metatron Omega has certainly come a long way in realizing his visions, the merits of this latest opus, Illuminatio, cannot be understated.

Metatron Omega, as a whole, can be seen from a more cinematic perspective, if one so chooses to take this route in their listenings. The first album, Gnosis Dei, lays out the groundwork for the trilogy, the hermit speaks out to us, explaining his path to enlightenment. On Sanctum, we can imagine the protagonist moving much closer to his ultimate enlightenment, no longer requiring explanation or dictions of any kind. He basks in the energies of the cathedrals he visits and the tomes he has uncovered. The hermit enters the halls of ancient orders and performs the required rituals to achieve his ultimate enlightenment. Illuminatio takes us beyond the earthly realms. The hermit has ascended, he’s become illuminated. He now resides in the aether, amongst the cosmic choirs beyond the limits of the laws of nature and order.

Illuminatio can be enjoyed as an aid to one’s spiritual enlightenment or as a backdrop to reading, studying or secular meditation. The album can be seen as a truly religious experience or as a well-rounded dark ambient album from an artist that is achieving an “enlightened” status among his peers. There is no shortage of great music to be experienced on Illuminatio, it is certainly his strongest release to date. Whatever your goals may be, Illuminatio should prove to be an enjoyable experience for any fan of the cathedralic sub-genre of dark ambient music. Listening to this trilogy as a whole, seeking a greater message or enjoying it as a stand-alone album, dark ambient fans should all find something to draw their interest.

Written by: Michael Barnett

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