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A Bleeding Star - Enjoy This Nyxchill'd Smokin' Session (2016) - Review

Band: A Bleeding Star
Album title: LXXXVII: Forget About This Mess'd Realm For A Second & Enjoy This Nyxchill'd Smokin' Session
Release date: 25 April 2016
Label: UAE Records

01. LXXXVII: Forget About this Mess'd Realm for A Second & Enjoy this Nyxchill'd Smokin' Session
02. There's A Specter Starin' At Me from My Bedsheet's Cover...I Don't Care...I'm Higher than A Clocktower
03. 'Should've of Escaped 'Vhen Ye Still Had the Chance...Now 'tis too Late... Let It Commence
04. Unlatchin' All that's Small-Lock'd-Black-Box'd In the Back of My Mind A Daze At A Time
05. Kill the Lightswitch...there's No One Alive Here...Just Rooms Fill'd With Daemonic Nightspirits
06. Switchshiftin' My Black Glass'd Astral Location By Teleportin' Back With Witchcraftin' Precision
07. The Subconscious Sea of the Mind & the Synchronicity of My Icefired Expeditional Dive

Just reading the album title and tracklist for this album, you may think this is quite an unusual release. You would not be wrong. A Bleeding Star releases their latest album on UAE Records, who also happened to just sign Xerxes The Dark. This album, much like the title would suggest, is quite a journey through the imagination. A dark smoke-filled room, a glass of absinthe, and a fine set of headphones appear to be prerequisite for optimal listening pleasure. A Bleeding Star delivers what UAE describes as dark gothic ambient. But that description only begins to tap into the complexities present on this album. There is also a decent helping of glitch and drone present here, giving the album a unique and quite interesting take on these genres.

A Bleeding Star has paid pain-staking attention to detail. This becomes much clearer after several play-throughs. Initially, I was taken aback by the blend of glitch with dark ambient, a combination which I would happily compare to the sounds of The Haxan Cloak. With repeated plays, the intricacies of the album continued leaping out. Heavy use of field recordings, occasional percussion, and light airy drones among many other things, keep the listener alert and entertained as each track progresses further into this magnificent world produced by A Bleeding Star. On the opening track, A Bleeding Star starts off subtly using a thick staticy field recording blended with a peaceful sounding synth line and an almost buried percussion, giving it a very cold lonely feel. Yet the very next track "There's A Specter Starin' At Me from My Bedsheet's Cover...I Don't Care...I'm Higher than A Clocktower" transitions into a whole different feel, a much warmer vibe, with a bass-line that reminds me more of dubstep than anything else. Then it dives right into the longest and one of the most meditative tracks on the album.

My appreciation for the details was again piqued after reading the accompanying parchment scroll. A Bleeding Star has hand-written notes/ramblings/thoughts/story and then screen-printed them on parchment scrolls. These scrolls really help the listener understand exactly what A Bleeding Star had in mind with each track. I found this scroll very complementary to the release, and I'm really happy to see artists using this as a tool to help unveil the story to the listener. As ambient genres tend to have little-to-no vocals, it really helps to get some insight otherwise. This worked very well for Cryobiosis Within Ruins, I remember having a whole new take on the album after reading the passage, and my experience here was very similar, and just as rewarding. The scrolls tell a story, almost in a theatrical fashion, with cues to scenery changes and shifts in the narrative. What we are presented with appears to be a man, lying in his bed, thoroughly intoxicated on various substances. This man uses witchcraft to move out of his own body to various astral locations. Yet as he moves through these places, occasionally returning to his bed, he begins to go mad and the creatures of the darkness, once held only in his imagination, begin to manifest in front of his very eyes. We accompany the protagonist through these journeys, or quite possibly hallucinations, until a restful deep-sleep finally encompasses him. Yet we are left with the promise of more journeys into these astral realms to come.

Not just an illuminating addition to the release, the parchment scroll is quite interesting in and of itself. The style of writing stood out the most, as it seems to be a combination of Old English, something like Shakespeare or Poe, with modern American slang. This seems almost absurd, in theory, but A Bleeding Star really executes the style well, without coming off as comical.

The fluctuation between peaceful and more aggressive tracks doesn't feel forced and helps to give LXXXVII:Forget About this Mess'd Realm for a Second & Enjoy this Nyxchill'd Smokin' Session  a lot of replay value. The more eclectic parts of the album are never so in-your-face that they will disturb the listener from study or work, yet they are surely dynamic enough to stay highly entertaining as an active listening experience. Definitely recommended for fans of The Haxan Cloak and other glitchy ambient acts, without alienating fans of a more standard form of dark ambient. Lay back in your most relaxing chair, have a smoke, have a drink, and "Enjoy this Nyxchill'd Smokin' Session".

Review written by: Michael
Rating: 7.5/10