ATRIUM CARCERI: Reliquiae CD Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution
Here is the seventh album by the well respected Simon Heath; spanning 19 tracks, we once again have a real treat on our hands with impressive Dark Ambient, cleverly wrapped and woven into a mass of free flowing underground atmospherics.
‘Unveiled’ gives us gorgeous ice like piano and is a stand out moment, along with ‘Knowledge of the Few’, utilising harmonies that float along in soundtrack form over a sea of gently padded bass, with machine like whirs that click in the atmosphere in between.
Heath is a master of variation; in a scene that can quite often become bogged down in the blackest of paths, he manages to reign in the oppressive beast and tames it with ingenious mastery; adding his own individual flair for precise flickers of sound, he creates an entirely different aural landscape that remains as threatening as much as it does beautiful and majestic.
‘Reliquiae’ is a glorious release; a thoroughly engaging affair, with more than its fair share of nooks and crannies to explore. Seven is a lucky number for us as well, as Heath has once again delivered the goods, outshining many of the scenes greatest; one of the best Dark Ambient acts on the market with more to offer than the genre tag implies.
DHALIA’S TEAR: Dreamsphere CD Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution
As a concept, ‘Dreamsphere’ is based upon a constant recurring nightmare; it’s an instantaneous hit from the off, with operatic vocals and rumblings of crashing storms outside your bedroom window, as an all out aural attack from every angle hits your senses.
After the initial opening to this extended dream sequence, we have five more tracks that take you throughout a chaotic, yet strangely enough low-key affair, almost like you are sat along for the ride looking, almost voyeuristic if you will, at various screens of the artists’ disturbances.
It’s been five long years since the last album ‘Under Seven Skies’ and once again we have another high quality jaunt through eerie, ghost-like caverns of sound that drift and soar, occasionally being interrupted with downright beauty; the title track for example, displays a fine array of talent and depth with some gorgeous piano lines, that hauntingly glide into the mix only to fade before you can latch on to any hope the cascading emotions bring.
Like some disturbing stretched out lullaby, ‘Dreamsphere’, in all its 47 minute long glory leaves the listener with the long lasting impression of tormented nights, where restful slumber seems nigh on impossible.
SALA DELLE COLONNE: XX.A.D. CD Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution
There is something so ludicrous about Sala Delle Colonne that you could almost laugh upon first listen; however, ‘XX.A.D.’ is so utterly bombastic and full of energy that you cannot help being charmed and thoroughly engaged in equal measure from start to finish.
Inspiration has come from Wagner, Sibelius and Mahler and it shows; huge crashing cymbals, operatic string sections and glorious emphasis on composition, drive the release on like the backdrop to the aural equivalent of distant battle from centuries past.
SDC is wasted just sat doing albums for the Martial Industrial genre; his work here wouldn’t be lost on an array of movies out there and would be a fitting soundtrack to the abundance of Roman gladiatorial films that glitter the silver screen.
I am genuinely intrigued as to how this was created; I am fairly certain a heck of this was done electronically, but it sounds so organic for the most part, such as ‘Tradizione Futurista’ with its simply gorgeous cello and wonderfully placed vocal sections; it’s a truly wonderful track and effortlessly epic.
‘XX.A.D’ is just one of those rare albums in the genre, that truly has got every element right without any misgivings whatsoever; one of the best examples of Neoclassical Martial music I have heard in some time.
RAISON D’ETRE: When the Earth Dissolves in Ashes CD Cold Meat Industry/Tesco Distribution
Here we have fifteen tracks taken from various live shows between 2010 and 2011, seamlessly woven together to sound like one long performance from one location.
The source materials for the track list have their roots sown in previous releases; however, Raison D’etre has masterfully created brand new songs at each of these events, mixing them live on the spot and there is no doubt, that is where the true beauty and genius to this release lies. There are no edits, there is no sitting down and rectifying mistakes; it is all here, raw and all the better for it.
‘Shedding ‘ is a highlight; blissful pads soaring up to the heavens whilst clattering metallic soundings stumble aimlessly in the background, fading into the bleak epic pools of ‘Darken my Soul’, which is a sinking pot of pure black ambience.
It’s a brave person who faces their target audience, with the pure intention of playing them a brand new array of tracks when they come to see them live; even braver when they’re going to hear new material conjured up right in front of their eyes. I wouldn’t expect anything less but consummate professionalism from Peter Anderson though and this new album, solidifies the sheer creatively strong output he has treated his listeners to for many a year.
GOLGATHA: Tales of Transgression & Sacrifice CD Cold Meat Industry
As a general rule, the majority of albums filtering through from camp Cold Meat are pretty much bang on. CMI as a whole stands for quality. Of course there is the odd rare moment of turgid claptrap.
Cue Golgatha; which is a pity because as stated above this looks the part perfectly. A5 digi-pak, glossy screen printed CD, the fact it’s on Cold Meat, who never used to suffer many fools in the industry. This is a prime example of C division music that has been polished in the studio and comes out loitering around the low end of the B division. Its ambient ritual neo folk, but it lacks depth and character.
On the plus side there is the production, which is simply perfect and I would expect no less from CMI; but in fairness this pales into insignificance when the songs are bland, the vocals weak, and the entire disc drifts on and on forever. Just because someone writes this style of music and you are inclined to release items in this genre does not mean that you should release everything that comes your way.
From the label that produced the mighty ‘Sophia’ and the awesome ‘Desiderii Marginis’, this just feels like a cheap cast off that tries too hard.
DESIDERII MARGINIS: Seven Sorrows CD Cold Meat Industry
DM have always been a fantastic proposition and ‘Seven Sorrows’ is by no mean feat, utter quality. I love ambient and all its offshoots and J Levin, the man behind the project, has really outshone himself here.
The glorious opener ‘Constant Like The Northern Star’ plays on the dream like quality that Marginis has and adds to the almost medieval influence that surrounds it, with guitar (I think its guitar) lines that just capture your heart and set you off on your journey.
There is more to DM than most other artists in this genre; an almost film soundtrack quality shrouds the entirety of this disc and you get the feeling that Levin’s work is held without boundaries; neither playing or pandering to a scene that expects its artists to perform in a certain manner.
I don’t want to draw comparisons to other artists, even though there will be similarities with many as that would be unfair; however, it would also be unfair to see this is on CMI and come to your own conclusions based on that.
Seven Sorrows is music to a movie not yet penned and most likely never will be. In some respects it is the soundtrack that somehow fits momentarily with the lives, some of us unfortunately lead.