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Black Egg - Melencolia (2015) - Review

Band: Black Egg
Album title: Melencolia
Release date: 4 September 2015
Label: [aufnahme + wiedergabe]

01. In The Black Sun
02. Leaving
03. Sterilize
04. Neon Man
05. King
06. Egg Mantra
07. Krieg
08. Nation
09. Naked Angel
10. Petit Chevalier
Acedia [Bonus]
11. Secret Wound
12. Sigils On The Trees
13. Arrows
14. Stains
15. Traum Baby Traum
16. Stunde Null

Black Egg is back with a new stunning album, after the magnificient in 2013 released debut album Legacy From A Cold World and the fantastic EP Brotherhood released last year, this new collection of songs takes a slightly different approach. The main persona behind Black Egg is the French composer/singer/multiinstrumentalist UsherSan, active in the music business since late 80s, known from before as the founder of the legendary Norma Loy and Die Puppe, this time he teamed up with the Austrian soul mate Corina Nenuphar (Ghost Actor, Vile Oblique, Suicide Potion,...), and the two created an album of highly hypnotizing dark minimalism. Melencolia comes out with a bit of delay as it was in the making since 2013 and finished in 2014, so some things might be outdated for what concers the sound of the band, but no matter what, Melencolia gives shivers, it's an album with an eerie and cold atmosphere, yet at he same time it's very intimate and somehow schizophrenic.

Melencolia is maybe the most minimalistic thing Black Egg did so far, but it offers such a multidimensional sound with many layers and variations that can't be taken just like another minimal dark electro thing, and it's absolutely not. Black Egg on Melencolia created a very dense and perverse sound which drills into your mind and soul with retro psychedelic elements, that could be in a strange way connected with the retro avantgarde rock sound of Velvet Underground and even with most disturbing and provocative things The Doors did back then. But please don't be misguided by my sayings, because Black Egg is an musical creation on its own as you'll find here also elements of cold wave, ghost wave, dark wave, synth wave, punk, even segments of industrial music, everything well combined into an highly expressive almost ritualistic monodramatic musical output. Use of different instruments, from synthetic retro beats, various samples, deep pulsating bass lines, piano, rhythmic noises,..., makes the whole thing dynamic, the atmosphere is often very suspenseful, psychedelic, sometimes almost appropriate for a BDSM orgy, everything is yet well produced and arranged, giving kind of a multimensional depth.

The songs on Melencolia talk about the world as it is, about the wandering souls that magick failed, about darkness calling for simplicity. It's main reference is the Dürer's allegorical compostion, Melencolia, from 1514, revisited and newly interpreted, talking about melancholy that has always been more than a state of mind or a mental illness, it has been a particular focus on the existence through the means of an extreme lucidity and the genius of a contemplative aesthetic. From the cold hypnotic, yet almost perverse black magic on "In The Black Sun" and "Egg Mantra", to disturbing electro retro-minimal experimentations on "Leaving" and "Neon Men" which bring in mind the likes of Front 242, Cobalt 60 and Front Line Assembly to name a few, industrial blackness on "Krieg", with tribalistic percussions, then crossing everything with the captivating melody and harmonic passages on "Sterilize", until finding the ultimate peace of mind on higly addictive "King" and on melancholic tender "Naked Angel". "Petit Chevalier", the last track up here, offers a gentle fragile child singing. UsherSan and Corina performed some amazing vocal duets on here, Usher with his ritualistic mind penetrating yet gentle preachings and Corina with her sensual, evocative otherworldly distant voice. Melencolia is occultistic musical journey, it's slowly building up a mysterious yet fragile soundscape filled with coldness.

Melencolia is sickness and darkness incarnated, it's beauty and schizophrenia, it's mysterious, melancholic and perverse. Those who'll get a special edition of the album with a bonus part called Acedia, a proper EP, featuring six more tunes, must pay attention to those addictive tender dark ambiances on "Secret Wound" and how beautiful is the vocal performance of both singers. Then the nicely building up atmosphere on ritualistic delirium within "Sigils On The Trees", even more dark psychedelia with amazing hidden melodic lines and haunting gloomy ambiances then follows on "Arrows" and culminates on disturbing "Stains" or even more on "Traum Baby Traum", where repetitive Corina's voice blended with layers of cold electronic experimentations and subtle UsherSan preachings gives goose bumps. Acedia ends with minimalistic industrial dark ambiances, throbing reverberate bass pulses, soft piano touches, everything covered by effective hypnotising recitation - "Stunde Null".

Melencolia, together with its bonus part Acedia offers a mind blowing musical journey full of twists and turns, still everything dark and subtle. It's not an easy album to digest, but once you'll get into its mood the whole new world opens up, maybe a bit too claustrophobic, but at the same time Melencolia is a poetry of a genious mind hiding beneath madman. It's an album that is slowly but steadily rising listeners attention and I highly recommend this album to each and every lover of dark, cold and hypnotic music.

And Melencolia is not everything that we get from Black Egg this year, soon an acoustic album named Songs Of Death And Deception, featuring some new and some reworked tracks, will see the light of the world.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8,5/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Ugasanie
Album title: The Dark Side
Release date: 19 September 2015
Label: Black Mara Records

Ugasanie takes a vacation from his often polar dark ambient style, to give us a truly eerie album! White Silence's “To The Lord Of The Polar Desert With Seven Faces” and “Arctic Hysteria” on Call Of The North gave us a hint of some of the creepier territory that Ugasanie was comfortable in. However these tracks were part of greater polar-themed albums. The Dark Side takes us to a whole new place with Ugasanie, down the deep dark corridors of the underworld itself. The Dark Side is an ode to death and eternity, where you will hear field recordings captured in places such as morgues and cemeteries. It is a prayer to Mara, the Slavic goddess associated with seasonal rites based on the idea of death and rebirth of nature. She is associated with death, winter, and nightmares. A very fitting patroness for Ugasanie and a fitting name for the fledgling label Black Mara, which specializes in dark ambient. The darkness Ugasanie portrays here is as cinematic as it is unnerving, yet it is never too harsh or overwhelming for the listener. It holds us tightly in Mara’s embrace and keeps us there from beginning to end. Ugasanie has shown us the darkness of Mara, goddess of death, in a brilliant collection of tracks. This album is highly recommended for any fan of dark ambient with equal amounts of subtlety and aggression.

Read a full review HERE