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Comadescent - Lost Within (2016) - Review

Band: Comadescent
Album title: Lost Within
Release date: 5 July 2016
Label: Self-released

01. As Fear Settles In
02. The Forest
03. The Totem
04. Lost Memories
05. Fog Spirit
06. Fragments Of Solitude
07. Into The Darkzone
08. The Darkzone
09. End In Voices
10. The Calm

Comadescent came onto the the dark ambient stage last year with their first effort, Fever Dreams, a sort of compilation of track which sole member Hemmi Saren had been working on in 2015 through early 2016. Lost Within appears to follow this same format. Releasing tracks like this can be a difficult thing in the dark ambient genre, where overarching stories, themes, and slowly evolving concepts are the norm. Yet the difference here is that Comadescent has been self releasing these albums, and seems to be making a point to test the waters of various different styles and sub-genres within the dark ambient spectrum. Comadescent is no doubt borrowing much of their sound from many who came before him, but this can not really be considered a flaw within this genre which so often sticks to the what has always worked. But certainly any artist testing their chops needs to show an ability to come at the music from a fresh perspective and with a degree of competence. Comadescent certainly has proven that they are capable of this.

"As Fear Settles In" starts off the album in a big way. There is a huge variety of field recordings permeating through the mix, giving the track a large and bustling feel. The male and female voices are even more unsettling here than in many other parts of the album. As we move into "The Forest" we get a warmer feeling and much less activity than on the previous track. There is a gentle rain in the background, which seems to be cutting through the blanket of deep thoughts. Thoughts which are becoming more chaotic and desperate as the track progresses. "The Totem" seems to be the first landmark track, where a specific place in time is being depicted. "The Totem" seems like some protagonist, having left the woods has now entered a sacred space, deep within the forest, hidden from mankind. "The Totem" is a place where magic comes to life, a concept which is presented to us in the form of a prominent electronic beat, which at once reminds me of Tehôm. Proceeding into "Lost Memories", we have an example of something which fits snugly into the more droning and contemplative sounds found in many Cryo Chamber tracks. As the drones gently shift, we hear children talking, laughing, and screaming, as if we are sitting on the edge of a playground daydreaming about our own childish thoughts and shortcomings or maybe on a family which is now only a distant memory. The combination of these concepts immediately brought God Body Disconnect to mind for me. "Fog Spirit" seems to return from the mind into the physical world. Yet, there is a dark and sinister presence here, which may have spilled out of one's dream world, or could literally be making its presence felt in reality. We are back in the woods again, as we walk, a thick fog sets in bringing a deep dark mysticism with it. The piano arrangement in this track brings out an almost whimsical feel in its presentation of the darkness arriving, like something heard in a 50s horror film. There is a plethora of field recordings here, evoking ghastly voices, breathing, muttering, and possibly even some muffled screams of agony pierce through from the depths. By the latter half of "Fog Spirit" deep bassy drones take over, as if this Fog Spirit has shown its true form to the protagonist. Enter a heavy down pour of rain as that same piano comes back into the mix. The style of this track reminds me very much of the style presented by Flowers For Bodysnatchers. "Fragments Of Solitude" takes on a more subtle feel, as we are transported again into the mind. Similar to "Lost Memories" and "As Fear Settles In" the track relies heavily on drones and gently shifting synths. "Into The Darkzone" and "The Darkzone" seems to be two halves of a whole, taking the listener into another scenario similar to "Fog Spirit" where we seem to be moving toward a dark and sinister presence, which shows its true face by the time we reach the climax of "The Darkzone". Here, I feel that Hemmi has moved a bit away from the Cryo Chamber sound, at least temporarily, and shows something more akin to classic Inade. "End In Voices" is one of the more cinematic tracks on the album, starting off gently, but quickly increasing its level of ferocity.  We hear a female whimpering, while there is a clear male presence, who doesn't seem to have her well-being in mind. As a swathe of eerie voices creep through the mix, there is a sense that we are still in the darkzone, witnessing some great evil being unleashed on mother Earth. As "The Calm" begins its farewell to Lost Within, we hear a static noise like a scratched record. It would seem that the calmness depicted here does not also include solace. As the album ends we are left with a sense of emptiness and despair, which of course should wear off after several hours!

Comadescent seems to have put together an album here which can certainly capture the interest of dark ambient fans who are particularly fond of the Cryo Chamber type sound, heavy on field recordings, atmosphere, and the occasional snippets of piano or other classical instrumentation. Yet, I'm thinking that the true audience for this album should be record labels. Considering Hemmi conducted every part of this process on his own with no help on album art or mastering, I consider it to be of surprisingly high quality. I can almost feel that special buzz here which I got from the Cryobiosis demo album, From The Depths, which in similar fashion, seemed to be more of a showcase for the variety of talents present within the musician, than a solid and coherent album to be properly unleashed on the masses. This seems like the best course of action for a young artist trying to break through into a genre which can be as tight-knit as it is obscure. Focusing on presentation and diversity of style, Comadescent has been very successful here. I hope to see some more hashed out structure in the future and for Hemmi to fully come into his own as an artist of the genre who can pave their own path. Lost Within is a clear and successful step in the right direction for Comadescent. There is a good chance that whatever comes next from this project may be well worth the time of every dark ambient fan. Since Lost Within is released through Bandcamp in a "name your price" format, I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to hear a talented up and coming artist in the genre.

Review by: Michael
Rating: 7/10