30/11/2011 § Leave a comment
After the hugely effective and accomplished EP that was Mortuary Chambers, you could be forgiven for thinking that Adamennon would follow it in a similar vein. That release was, quite simply, a beautiful onyx-black and gravely heavy offering of dark ambience. Especially since the artwork to Nero is so similar, there’s a lot to imply a continuation. Adamennon has never liked overstructuring though, and this time round the dark ambience has been lifted and injected with a plumping of experimentation and sampling. It’s something which doesn’t wholly pay off. Since the early days and the creation of his formative works, the only thing that has been consistent about Adamennon’s albums has been their inconsistency. And once again, that’s the case here.
Adamennon’s work in black ambience and black metal has always had a firm focus on concept contortion and belying genre tradition; he has a fixation with playing with expectation whilst keeping the genres’ traditional conceits. These days, his dark ambient work gets the same treatment, and here he gives us seven tracks in various degrees of experimental ambience using clean guitar riffs and loops, drones and church organs. Even though the ingredients may be promising, the final result unfortunately isn’t. The whole thing is full of disparity; Nero is an experiment rather than a statement, and it actually feels like one. After going through this several times I still get the impression that the music is fumbling blindfold in the dark for some kind of trajectory and purpose. There is no rhythmic pulse of heart, no crystallisation of catharsis. If anything, it’s a jumble of dark ambient clichés, tipped and sorted in the wrong order.
Nero does have its positive moments, the excellent elongated drones of “Gli Ultimi Passi Nel Buio” and the glitches and white noise of “la Lettera Di Asmodeo” are disturbingly effective, but instances such as these are all too seldom. In a way its formulaic, but only by it’s own standards. Most tracks revolve around repeating the same instrumental loop for several minutes and then pasting some stock dark ambient soundbytes over the top. As a result, there’s no feeling, no perturbation and no beautiful dread that one would come to expect: the ‘experimentation’ is nothing avant-garde or fresh, but just something slightly different from what the genre normally engages itself with. Consequently Nero fails at being emotive, or indeed interesting. It’s a work of gesture, born from the right intentions but severely lost in execution.
One thing’s for certain, Adamennon does possess the rite and the capability to make interesting dark ambience at times. Nero shows signs of his passion for darkness and melding it with the beauty and uplift of melody, while helixing the two together in a cluster. But experimentation of this kind only works in piecemeal amounts, while Nero tends to overseason itself with too many elements, too many thoughts in one mind, and the album ends up sounding crowded in a genre built on minimalism. If Adamennon could tone down the repetitiveness and concentrate more on plain, linear feeling, then the road forward would be a more successful one. However, with such saturation as Nero possesses, its depth is not something to be understood as much as forgiven.