HALGARTH: The Whole Path of War and Acceptance CD Cryo Chamber/Tesco Distribution
Cryo Chamber, a relative newcomer of a label is coming along in waves with an abundance of quality, impressive Dark Ambient releases; and with the backing of Tesco Distribution, fills some of the void left by the demise of Cold Meat Industry.
Halgarth are once again, one of those acts that have all the tools to hang around in the upper echelons of the genre. As ‘Acceptance of the Inner Self’ paces itself, the ranging pads ascend graciously and unobtrusively, whilst tympani beats slowly pick up the march, before slowly falling off the edge into the deepest of voids.
‘The Whole Path of War and Acceptance’ comprises of eight tracks that fill all corners of a room with no space to escape. Enveloped in inky rich bass frequencies that intertwine, Halgarth holds the listener on a tight leash that is given slack sporadically to appreciate the odd blast of cold air, provided by frosty pads at given moments in time.
There are momentary nods at brilliance along the way with classical ghost female vocals, as on the wonderful ‘Afflatus’; placing Halgarth on a pedestal right up there with their peers and crossing the bridge between straight up DA and the arcane.
Altogether an impressive release, this album amongst others markets Cryo Chamber as one of those labels that are ones to watch with a keen and eager eye.
SABLED SUN: Signals I-III 3xCD Cryo Chamber/Tesco Distribution
Simon Heath, the man behind the immense Atrium Carceri has been very busy indeed with his main project and this. On top of this he started the Cryo Chamber label up after the end came for Sweden’s CMI; a label with which he had found a home for his musical output.
Over the course of three tracks spread over three CD’s he brings three albums that were released previously on digital download. I despise digital only releases and I am pleased to see this as a hard copy and a worthy purchase that is value for money and as a product, to marvel at over three discs.
As expected, Sabled Sun provides an epic concept tale, narrated in rich, driving Dark Ambient in three stages. Comparisons have to be made with Heath’s other output from his Carceri project as this sits within the same genre; and some of the time it is hard to distinguish between the two, which I guess I to be expected, even if I am nit-picking.
Sabled Sun however, goes for the long haul and to swallow this whole release up, you will need a good three hours of your time along with some contemplation space, to boot. ‘Signals II’ is my favourite, where a lot of the pads resonate in the same way as Sophia managed on the incredible ‘Herbstwerk’; massaged into the ears with enriching, underwater-like bubbles of sound.
Individually, these ‘Signals’ releases are a great example of the genre in their own right. However, place them together and they collide as a truly monolithic release of grand proportions that should and most definitely will, be lapped up by any self-respecting Dark Ambient fanatic.
ATRIUM CARCERI: The Untold CD Cryo Chamber/Tesco Distribution
I will hold my hand up now and categorically state that I am a fan of Atrium Carceri and have been from the off. I have never been disappointed with any of Simon Heath’s releases under this banner and luckily, ‘The Untold’ matches my expectations; which I have to admit are always ridiculously high.
AC always sets a scene, a play, something to envisage within your minds eye. Opener, ‘The Expedition’ lifts the curtains on a backdrop that places the listener viewing images through sounds of a throng of people outdoors setting off on horseback through the wildest of weather, whilst accompanied by pads breathing as resonating horns.
Synth work on ‘The Untold’ flitters between analogue and purely electronic sounds; Heath however, manages to keep an earthly, medieval feel to the proceedings as though everything is purely natural and organic. There is a knack to this art and when the dramatic choral voices sift through the gloom of ‘Unlocking the Seal’, it is done to spine tingling effect.
‘The Untold’ is once again, Atrium Carceri at the top of its game and proving out and out to be one of the finest exponents of Dark Ambient within the genre. With an aural presentation that brings to life a tale that could only be written on parchment, there is a depth and maturity to this latest album that many, simply could not achieve. Enriching, invigorating, subtle, brutal in parts, horrific and majestic in equal measure, ‘The Untold’ approaches from the darkest of nooks and crannies; unnerving yet comforting, with hope filtering through the dimmest of candle lit rooms.