Having recently explored the new, with the cracking debut album from Voz De Nenhum ‘Sublimation’ it is time to delve right back to the past of one of the musicians from it, Dictator. This is a one man project from the Cypriot and one he started in 2005 with EP Fog Of Death and follow up demo The Pain Sessions the year after. Dysangelist is an album that far exceeded its predecessors in scope and this 2008 debut album is now available over a decade from execution and lovingly forged onto a weighty double vinyl by UK label Aesthetic Death. Is this relevant after all these years? Well doubtful as far as the one person on metal archives to review it giving it a score of 30% is concerned but for others with more open ears it is certainly something to treasure. Not that it is particularly easy to do so at first due to the extreme length of things with each side and track of the album lasting up to the 20 minute mark making it a huge marathon of a listening experience. Genre wise it is hardly the most accessible either and best description I can give you stylistically is to refer to this as neo-classical, blackened funeral doom. Let’s have a slight pause whilst you digest that…

The 19 minute title track is probably my favourite of these 4 offerings, swirling in like ghostly mist and sprawling out to infect all it touches with a tenebrous cold touch. This is music for graveyards, solitary sojourns and dreams of a depressive nature. Dictator does a great job of constructing things and keeping it all glowing. It is the central guitar line of this that gives it the most definition, arriving shortly into the song and winding itself around you as the necrotic cries of pain and misery are summoned from the vocals. It is endless and strangely soothing until it all finally unravels with brooding ambience with a hideous shriek and frosty majestic keyboards proving what is already dead is going to be a challenge to kill. Lovers of things drawn out won’t be wanting it to end anyway and at least when it does there are three more dark hymns awaiting in the shadows. Sanctus takes us into the crypt beneath the mausoleums and lights the way from some Gregorian sounding chants giving this particular number its distinction. It’s a dark mass that’s beautiful to walk into and a haunting piano refrain gives it that classical feel whilst the guitar lines provide a ponderous classic metal vibe doomed in essence and weeping tears of solemnity. It could of course be played out in a more streamlined fashion as at 20 minutes in length this is music for those that like to bow down in reverence long after the knees have gone weak and it could be considered torturous for some. Others who like one man black metal bands and funeral doom will be well versed in pace and passage here though and those with the likes of Burzum, Xasthur, Nortt and Vardan in their collections should definitely soak up the ghastly atmospheres.

Side 3 sees Monolithos moving down a dark ambient path with booming slow drums and horrifying croaks. Fuzz laden bass heft opens up and we limber off bones creaking for a skeletal limber through the charnel house of the macabre. As the lovely card booklet encased with my vinyl decrees this is a place of filth, decay and death but that is something the listener will no doubt have already worked out pretty early on. The construction is labyrinthine and takes a hardy explorer to traverse and they should be warned to heed the choral call of the damned along the way. This is a place of very little light and if your pillar of light goes out, you will be trapped forevermore. Staggering out you will be rewarded by access into the ‘Phantom Cenotaphium’ a vast cavern no doubt constructed with the bones and skulls of other travellers, a huge tomb far from Unreplenished and inhabited by many a lost soul. Giving away its true secrets is not for me however but discovery is only a touch away. You can listen to the album in its entirety via previous label Sérpéné Héli Music’s Bandcamp link below and then grab one of the 250 double LP’s rebooted by Greg Chandler (who else) via Aesthetic Death.

Since Dysangelist Dictator has been busy in a host of other outfits but as far as this project is concerned there has not been a whisper or scream so I am left wondering what could have been and what may become again. Until then this will do very darkly

(8/10 Pete Woods)