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Near Earth Orbit - Mission E.D.E.N. (2016) - Review

Band: Near Earth Orbit
Album title: Mission E.D.E.N.
Release date: 21 October 2016
Label: Solar Lodge

01. The Architects
02. Aftermath
03. World Without Us
04. Inocular
05. Mission E.D.E.N.
06. Low
07. E.D.E.N.
08. The Beginning

Two of the most important architects of modern era dark music, Artaud Seth (Garden Of Delight, Merciful Nuns) and Ashley Dayour (Whispers In The Shadow, The Devil & The Universe,...) are back with their lauded project Near Earth Orbit. Mission E.D.E.N. is the last part of the trilogy which started in 2015 with the stunning album End Of All Existence and continued later with Trans Neptunian Objects. Like you all should already know that this is the post apocalyptic sci-fi story or better said a message from the future, more exactly a warning, radio transmission from 2034 about the end of planet Earth, about the apocalypse, about a voyage deep into the galaxy, discovering strange devices deep beneath the surface of our planet. And if you expected that you'll find all of the answers to questions made on first two chapters you are wrong, Mission E.D.E.N. is not about that, rather than giving some kind of a conclusion to this story it makes everything even more blurry, the only thing certain is that it somehow goes beyond and back, it's not a linear story, and after witnessing the "so fucking beautiful apocalypse" only one of two crew members is still alive, or at least it seems so. This trilogy is a sonic movie which requires your intelect, it's a perfect mixture of post-apocalypse, paranoia and fiction. In the end everything is left to your imagination.

Musically Mission E.D.E.N. is a very strong album, it actually starts in the similar vein where Trans Neptunian Objects left off, and so it offers one hell of heavy intensity, dense and turbulent sound that can't be really properly categorized, but it's also highly atmospheric, sometimes soothing, even emotional and absolutely cinematic. The first two tracks, "The Architects" and "Aftermath" might be some of the heaviest things that Dayour and Seth ever did, especially I was blown away by the groovy second half of "Aftermath", it's kind of a well controled yet melodic heaviness and chaos tied together, at very limits of extreme industrial metal, Samael's album Passage came in my mind, yet you can find elements of crust, doom, dark electronics and of course goth rock, but in the end is nothing of that and it doesn't really matter. Both of the powerful opening tracks test your limits of acceptance while still throwing you into some kind of mysterious turmoil of "in your face" spit wall of sound based on heavily vibrant, reverberate and throbing bass lines, pounding percussions and drum beats, over the edge distorted guitars and brain drilling electronics that will leave you breathless, add to all that deep and raging vocals and you are almost there.

The rest of the album is another story, it's more like a soundtrack, it's built on soundscapes composed by using various elements, from ambient, drone, noise, industrial beats, electronics, even some goth rock, confusing almost floydian aerial atmospheres and danceable waves. Everything is very dramatic, almost mystical, somehow you can almost feel the isolation of human mind in the vastness of space after the apocalypse. It feels like a constant battle between beauty and chaos, between frustration and order, it sparks the imagination of the listener in a marvelous way. You'll find some similarities with the latest albums of Seth's main band Merciful Nuns, also there are elements that could remind to Dayour's The Devil & The Universe, but as an entirety Near Earth Orbit project is far from there. The captivating pair, album title track and highly atmospheric "Low", where backing female vocals, cosmic synths and some typical goth rock guitar lines, especially in the middle of "Low", add another dimension, thus guide the listener through the interstellar medium in such a vivid way that is almost hard to imagine.

Mission E.D.E.N. is a very cohesive, yet complex and absolutely epic piece of dark art, it's very hypnotic, sometimes almost psychedelic but often so very accumulative that simply calls for many repetitive listens. It might not be so coherent as the first album and not so dense and raw as it was the second chapter, but it's much more atmospheric and like said before cinematic. It leads the listener through many emotional states of mind and offers more questions than answers to the whole story. It leaves the sonic adventurer with some kind of a monologue by Artaud Seth, the only survivor who is now on his destination to the Jupiter moon. Might this be a hint that the thing with Near Earth Orbit is not over yet and that in the future we might be granted with another transmission from the future. Who knows, but those of us who already enjoyed in all those soundscapes offered by this project will be more than happy if it happens. Near Earth Orbit will most likely be raked by goth rockers, but believe me that it offers a lot to a very different spectrum of listeners, from those into ambient music, to fans of industrial, to those in electronic sounds, even crust and as well to fans of darker subgenres of metal, in a word it's for all those who are open minded enough and like to discover new things. Within some special editions of Mission E.D.E.N. you can get a great bonus album named H.O.P.E., featuring remixes of selected tracks from all three albums. A must have!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10

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