Published on Saturday, 05 December 2015 00:04
Album title: All Demons Are Horned
Release date: 23 September 2015
04. Anthropocosmos & Dark Aum (Medley)
05. Srater & Two-Sphere (Medley)
07. Gliseii (Bonus)
Abbildung offers up a gem to the dark ones with the latest release All Demons Are Horned, an album which marks the 10th anniversary of Abbildung's inception. The Romanian mastermind behind Abbildung, Casian Stefan, has spent the last three years coaxing and sculpting All Demons Are Horned into the soundscape presented here. Exquisite use of a multitude of dark ambient tools give this album a real depth and personality. Field recordings and drones come together effortlessly melting into the dark ambient soundscape. However, All Demons Are Horned is not your standard dark ambient fare. While the first half of the album sticks reverently to the roots of the genre, by the second half we hear the sound expanding into new realms giving the listener ample variety.
On the first track "Niim" we are taken to a cold and desolate place. Fitting for the opener on Winter-Light's latest release. "Niim" is a slow-build, gently pulling the listener into the darkness of All Demons Are Horned. Deep cavernous soundscapes are tinged with a cold overtone which patiently reveals itself to the listener. Coming in at over twelve minutes, "Niim" is a journey in and of itself. "Devia" pulls us further into the dark abyss. That same cold cavernous feel is present here, bringing with it a sense of movement near some source of water. As if we are wandering through a deep perma-frosted tunnel, there seems to be something lurking in the shadows, waiting for us to come close enough to touch. "Usdeno" has a more prevalent human element. We are creeping from the cold into a warmer place, but not necessarily any more benign. A dark choir sings to the horned ones, begging for their mercy or maybe their favor. Closing my eyes, I imagine a frozen cavern opening into a dank and stuffy chamber. The cloaked dark priests make their sacrifices and incantations to the demons as we sit in front of the altar, reverently observing the rites. "Anthropocosmos & Dark Aum" starts as a slow moving dark ambient piece, gentle synths and drones hover just above the surface, then without warning, a tribal drum beat kicks in along with a more prevalent synth-line. This brings us further into the realms of humanity, pulling us slowly out of the cold desolation of the earlier tracks. As if the dark ones have been fully invoked, there seems to be a clarity, a sense of purpose. Then just as quickly as it arose, we are left yet again in darkness. Not alone, the chorus sings to us, and the drums occasionally hammer. As the track creeps to a close, it slowly grows ever darker and more brooding, gently passing into nothingness. "Srater & Two-Sphere" takes on an industrial feel. A deep drone lies beneath a cold lifeless machine as it pounds away at its duties. Imagination is left to run wild, images of souless machine elves spurt forth, as they work their metals deep in the tunnels of these icy caverns. This element of mystery and obscurity builds further as the droning goes silent and the sounds of echoing screams emerge as if bouncing off the walls, gliding through the chambers, searching for an escape from their tormentors. Yet no respite will be found here, as the title implies: these demons are not friendly and they are not interested in catering to the emotions of humanity. The track closes with a cryptic message, a man speaking over a radio, possibly attempting to contact the outside world? Yet the words he speaks, and the response from the other end is unclear. "Abrasi", the proper closing track to this album, delves back into the depths of dark ambient. It is a slow rolling track which gives rise to more feelings of isolation, desolation, and cold fridged darkness. "Gliseii" is a bonus track bringing back elements from "Srater & Two-Sphere". The voices are heard again, communicating over some radio transmission, but the haze is thicker than before. It is a fitting bonus track, as it seems to be one last attempt for the listener to connect with this sense of humanity, yet the human condition is becoming harder to fathom from the cold desolation that is All Demons Are Horned.
Abbildung has crafted a truly captivating album. Taking elements of sound from various musical genres and incorporating them into this dark ambient composition makes for an interesting experience for the listener, one that would not be considered boring or stagnant at any point. Abbildung's mastery of these various elements leave us with an album that has a high level of replay value. Unlike some other albums which attempt to pull various elements into the dark ambient genre, Abbildung has built a steady framework which holds up from beginning to end. At points the album becomes dense, but never overbearing. All Demons Are Horned is especially recommended for fans of a polar and/or a highly-cinematic variety of dark ambient, with massive shifts in execution from track to track, yet never straying from the frozen desolate elements.
Review written by: Michael