Aderlating – Spear of Gold and Seraphim Bone Part I

31/07/2011 § Leave a comment

I’m fed up with being told what Hell sounds like. Since Lustmord galvanised the trend in 1990, the dark ambient scene, if you can all it much of a scene at all, has been replete with works celebrating the essence of the netherworld. Spear Of Gold And Seraphim Bone is no different, a 63 minute journey through the bleakness and despair of Hell from your arrival until your supposed departure, though without so much of the subtleties of Lustmord’s Heresy. Aderlating has an altogether different approach to dark ambient, mixing it in with a generous portion of noise and soft static, and though the linear notes to the one-sheet describe the album as being black metal, such a definition needs to be silently and disrespectfully trodden on like an incessantly whining mosquito. Spear Of Gold And Seraphim Bone contains no metal in it whatsoever and though there may be the odd double-kick beat hovering in the background for added atmosphere, such an inclusion does not warrant the labelling of an entire subgenre. The album is most certainly and undoubtedly a work of ambient, and a successful one at that.

Those fans of the medieval peasantry, and I know you’re out there, will be particularly intrigued by the album’s artwork, featuring a plague doctor in an almost Christlike pose, greeting us and beckoning us through to the start of our journey; perhaps the Black Emperor at the Temple’s Gates of which the first track speaks. Aderlating uses the Sanskrit word for Hell, Naraka, and it is this place in which we are to spend the hour of the album’s entirety. Spear of Gold is the first part of a duology, the second half to be released towards the end of the year – and maybe by part II a lighter, more ethereal side will be revealed.

Knowing Aderlating though, such a reality may be wishful thinking. Mories, the man behind Gnaw Their Tongues and De Magia Veterum, is more known for his harsh and abrasive depictions of ambient than delivering a serene, introspective feel to his listeners. Indeed, the Hell that Aderlating ensconces us in is a cursed, anguished environment with little respite from the torments within the Gates. The general tone of the album is one filled with noise, blackness and the hopelessness of impending inevitability, the inevitability that some of us will end up in this place, whatever exactly it is, and that this aural visitation will be our Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

“Black Emperor At The Temple’s Gate” gives us a glimpse to the horrors within. The Naraka is an immense, deep place. Strangulating, swirling mists asphyxiate us through the darkness beyond the Gates while low down, exhausted screams ricochet off its inescapable boundaries. Screams not of a harsh, terrified, panic-stricken fright as in Elend’s Umbersun, but those of a tired acceptance of perpetual fate wherein all identity of the individuals has been removed and what remains is mindless creatures; thoughtless, beaten organisms forever living the rest of their days in dulled torment and agony.

“Descending the Naraka” is a much more precarious affair. The screams of the tormented are behind us, enshrined forever at the Gates as a warning to what we’ll experience ahead. There is only the atmosphere of apprehension surrounding us as we tread onwards, the sense of deterioration and impairment building as a chorus of voices rises around and pleads with us to save them and ourselves from perpetual inclusion. Maybe our path is already fated.

The title track is a much louder, unforgiving affair as we find ourselves in the thick of this blackening environment. The tumultuous rhythm of drums builds around us, beating to a steady sacrificial rite of torturing spirits. It’s now an ongoing, relentless work of pain and suffering, as we join souls at the mercy of their own life-experience and influence, only at the beginning of their exhaustive journey of affliction. “A Burial on The Slopes of Mount Sinai” is a much more ambient affair as we leave the battery of the ritual behind us and explore a quieter place, but one still filled with disdain and the stale essences of interment as wraiths cry in the far distance, tied to a world of purgatory and perpetual deprivation.

“Engel Der Wrake”, the longest track on the album at 18 minutes, mixes the harrowing intensity of distorted, menacing vocals with the quieter, more sinister feel of awaiting judgement. After the sentences have been passed, we are left in the noisy, static realm of the inner Naraka with the sounds of glitching, contorted existences flickering their lives away in darkness. The howling wind beyond reminds us of the futile ephemeral nature of our own lives and how susceptible we all can be to the perpetually of a similar existence due to our own choices, or lack of them.

Spear of Seraphim Bone is very much a work of portent. It is one which requires several experiences to fully understand and connect with. This is no incidental, casual wandering into a trendset dark ambient habitat, but an environment with texture, activity and history. It presents the impenetrability of noise as being as close in its extreme to the impregnability of ambient, mixing two degrees and bringing them together as a resultant being in the same way in which the universe is its own diptych, its own dichotomy, a stress and tussle between dualities. In crafting such a work, Aderlating is not merely following a path of dark ambient cliché as much as projecting an already-existent plain and giving us a window into it. While these frightful dissonances may make us recoil in revulsion, there’s something all too familiar to their consciousness.

Rating: 4/5

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