I have to admit I hadn’t a clue what I was getting into when I asked for this from the review list (yes internet people, that’s what happens, we ask for things we hope we might enjoy and if we’re lucky we get them. No one enjoys writing critical reviews). A split by two bands/projects I didn’t know. Cold, starless, chaotic and ambient were words thrown about along with Mories being somewhere on it. Sounded intriguing.
Firstly it came as a physical review copy and the A5 packaging is gorgeous. Understated, dark and abstract but precise and just oozing class. I love seeing that. Care in design, as I always say, is a good sign.
Slide the disc in and I realise that this is not a short split. Tome Of The Unreplenished present a nineteen minute track ‘Proskynesis’. With the ominous sounds of breathing and shivering we then descend into a cloud of cold rumbling noise. Winds? Engines? The hollow echoing of a void and the clatter, patter and crash of percussion or water, whilst radiophonic squeals and squalls pass by. It is a frightening, isolating sound; something like the soundscapes in The Axis Of Perdition’ dividing ‘Urfe’ sent spinning into a maelstrom of space and radiation.
Noise and ambient like this is difficult for some as the structure and intent is divorced from supporting structure and requires, at least in myself, the willingness to simply let go and see if it takes me somewhere, if it conjures realms or visions. This takes tome but suddenly, my resistance broken down by waves of distortion and I’m in hell. Event Horizon hell as scream erupt and echo through the relentless warp driven engine. It rends you, renders you down to primal matter and then feeds the leavings to…something. 8/10
Starless Domain weigh in at over 38 minutes with CERES (they have just also re-released their album EOS via Aesthetic Death too ED). With a wailing sound and something approaching an actual riff and drumming this is less ambient, more instrumental. Initially at least it has a structure of cosmic/industrial black metal, a descent and headlong drive towards something. Somewhere you question the sanity of going towards. It winds up, tightening the sound for nearly twenty minutes before falling into a juddering halt and quiet of twinkling yet dark ripples of celestial sound and awe inspiring vistas. But the malevolence creeps back in, overshadowing everything and plunging us back into the horror. A last assault before fades back and we are left adrift in the other place. Somewhere silent and so very still.
It’s good and evocative but perhaps the issue is the structure. With it, there enters a certain element of repetition and predictability. Not enough to annoy but…something about it in my head demands it to be either more akin to an actual song or conversely less. Well worth a listen though, certainly. 6.5/10
(Overall 7/10 Gizmo)