Within: hellish and enthralling fusion ambient black metal / industrial drone soundscapes

Ithi, Within, Land of Decay, cassette catalog 024 (2011)

Here’s a dark, creepy ambient soundscape cassette release from a duo consisting of Luke Krnkr of sci-fi black metal band Servile Sect and Joshua Convey. Three tracks are featured here: Side A contains “Go Forth and Die” and “Roses in the Snow” and Side B is devoted entirely to “NoWHere” Appropriately “Go Forth …” has a constant hellish, high-pitched wailing metallic drone through which a repeating vocal loop can be heard; the track has the deranged quality of a recording by one of the more barmy ambient French Black Legions black metal acts (the ones with the unpronounceable names derived from a made-up language). Stabs at melody seesaw up and down, making for a highly nauseous piece of atmospheric black metal sound texture.

The piece fades out and an industrial pulsing wave rhythm pushes to the fore. It gradually reveals a mournful, Gothic-sounding organ or bassoon murmur loop while a shrill metallic drone stuck on two alternating notes blares on and on. Background voices shrouded in echo and set far, far back in the mix blather on about some mysterious ritual. The track becomes more obviously black metal with guitar feedback drone near the end.

Final piece “NoWHere” has a rough and raw robotic rhythm loop, an equally repetitive and bland one-note piano accompaniment and an oppressive atmosphere bristling with static and ongoing chainsaw malevolence. In the far background, a blaring trumpet-like loop sounds off continuously. Just when you think you can take more, a strange throb starts up and visions of spaceships buried deep underground for centuries suddenly revving up, lights pulsing, and moving through the ground up into the sky and off into the stratosphere (yes, I only saw “Prometheus” the other day, what a silly hodge-podge that was) beam into my mind.

The spaceships fade from sight and the track slows down to a subdued crackle and a drumming rhythm. Uh-oh, the spaceships return – perhaps they left their pilots behind! The throbbing noise is never-ending and intense enough that your head feels locked into its groove and can never get out. Fortunately the track deigns to release us from our sonic imprisonment and our heads feel strangely blank and clean, as though the aliens took what they needed (half our brains, I think) and left the non-sapient bits behind.

This is an enthralling little release from an act whose members I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more from on. The lo-fi nature of the cassette suits the band’s aim in creating creepy and sinister black metal ambient drone music with an oppressive and hateful atmosphere. Much recommended if you like droning ambient black metal industrial, a fusion genre that’s been growing in popularity of late.

Contact: Luke Krnkr, Land of Decay


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