Published on Thursday, 26 January 2017 22:02
Band: Apocryphos, Kammarheit, Atrium Carceri
Album title: Echo
Release date: 10 January 2017
Label: Cryo Chamber
01. What The Earth Bore
02. The Dead Fire
05. In An Arched World
08. Drawn Like A Moth
09. All Dreams Mined
The trio of Apocryphos, Kammarheit, and Atrium Carceri have come back together for another brilliant dark ambient masterpiece. In 2015, the trio hit dark ambient fans by storm with their first collaboration, Onyx. Onyx blended the talents of these three gentlemen together in such a fashion that it was impossible to distinguish any one part belonging to any one artist. In short the album sounded like a single unit prepared it. There were no egos competing for the crown.
Onyx seemed as though the three musicians had been working together from the very beginnings of their careers. This is no small feat when looking at the back-catalogs of these artists. Kammarheit and Atrium Carceri going back 10-15 years in their careers and Apocryphos, while still young in terms of musical output, had solidified his position among the dark ambient greats.
From the very beginning stages of production on Echo, it became apparent to fans that these three would come together once again, bringing into reality an Onyx sequel. So when Echo released, it is safe to say many immediately felt a difference from Onyx. Echo, in fact, totally breaks the mold set by Onyx, taking these three artists into wholly uncharted territory.
Where Onyx had very specific structure to the songs, Echo seems less tangible, easier to allow the mind to drift. Where on Onyx, the beginning of the next track immediately alerted the listener to a new song beginning, Echo floats more gently through its tracks, allowing the listener ample opportunity for interpretation and ample room for the psyche to blossom. These differences don't seem so strange when evaluating the names of the albums, Onyx: a solid black rock, Echo: a reverberating sound mingling with the atmosphere of an empty chamber.
Echo took many listens to really begin thinking about the album from an analytical perspective. As stated previously, the sounds are ambiguous; the feelings evoked are open to interpretation. There are no tracks like "Cavern Of Igneous Flame" which immediately alert the listener to a change in setting and mood. The entirety of Echo is deliberate, and yet it is passive.
With all this talk about passivity, it would seem that the album may be interpreted as unimportant. This is not the case. From the first moments of "What The Earth Bore" to the final notes in "All Dreams Mined" these three artists deliver a top notch performance. The passivity of Echo keeps it fresh. Time after time the album can be played, echoing throughout the afternoon, into the depths of a lonely evening. Solitude becomes one's best friend, as they allow their own thoughts and emotions to mingle with Echo, producing interpretations which will be vastly different from listener to listener.
Some moments of the album certainly grasp the listener more tightly, giving them an almost tangible moment to hold onto, something to remember fondly after the album has ended. The title track, "Echo", for instance, brings a bit of percussion into the mix for the first time in this pair of albums. "Eschatology" has a gritty darkness to it, which easily evokes apocalyptic landscapes, thoughts of death and destruction. While, "Drawn Like A Moth" incorporates a child-like voice which sort of whisper-sings to the listener, as if it is tapping directly into their psyche. Moments like these give ample opportunity for a deep and emotional connection. Yet, they never overwhelm the whole. They allow for just enough activity to fall in love with them, but never enough to fully open up, giving the listener more than enough reason to return over and over, building on previous experiences, taking the listener to yet uncharted territories of the mind.
As was its predecessor, Echo is a brilliant album, crafted by some of the most impressive dark ambient musicians to enter the genre. Yet again they manage to tap directly into the listeners' minds, filling us with a sense of wonder and darkness that is not easily forgotten. All the while, they never fall into monotony, never re-enter the waters traversed by Onyx. Echo is its own masterpiece, in and of itself, the fact that it has a predecessor does not affect it in any way. I would highly recommend Echo to any and all fans of dark ambient music, this album is surely one of the greats, a highlight in the careers of Apocryphos, Kammarheit, and Atrium Carceri, and yet one more gem in the discography of Cryo Chamber.
Written by: Michael