We can easily associate Dark Ambient with post-apocalyptic times. Seeing that the cold, stale future of an industrial wasteland and the anarchical takeover of society can parallel the droning soundscapes that many DA artist portray them to be, it’s easy to make that comparison. Although not all dark ambient is notorious for this theme, it has become a staple thought process of the listeners imagination when zoning out to a good album, especially when the music is enhanced by a superb album cover and long tracks to set and maintain a certain mood. However, on the latest recording by Hiemis called, ‘Hyperborea’, a dismal picture of the horrors of war, personal torment, and post-traumatic anxiety is smeared across six monumental tracks. From eerie soundscapes and choir-like chants, to winter cold field recordings, these and other evil sounds augment the minimalistic low-end drones to create a recipe for an integrated and depressive audio assault.
“Yikilith” commences the attack right away with a bizarre opening keyboard section, followed by some quiet yet monstrous tones just as the droning begins. Choir-like singing – although inaudible – can be heard in the background, adding an additional frightening layer to the mix. The next track, “Urbo-Sathla” contains beautiful female chanting vocals in a few spots, giving this track a really creepy vibe. I can imagine a troop of soldiers finding solace in an abandoned cathedral, right after a hard fought battle, and unsure of their potential rescue from the situation at hand. This is probably my favorite track on the album and it could easily be on the soundtrack of a top-budget horror movie. “Tsathoggua” is a shorter track but has a consistent, droning sound throughout with added gloomy keys that provide a sense of urgency. The following track, “Voormithadreth” is a twelve and a half minute long polar ambient hymn that gives the listener the feeling of solitude, or even anxiety from the lack of knowledge of not knowing what is to become. Throughout the track, random noises emerge, making the listener more anxious of the unknown. “Polarion” has almost a dark jazz feel to it, as if chamber music meets chilling lounge music with added warm drones in the background. The trance-like sounds almost give this song a depressive feel, making it one of the darker songs on the album. The albums final track, “Yhoundeh”, is another short track containing a simple, yet affective dark drone, with some looping atmospherics layered over the top. The message that this track conveys to the listener is that although the battle is over, there is no winner. The damaging affects of war has affected both sides and recovery for all is now necessary.
The Noctivigant Collective label out of New Mexico is home to some of the worlds most innovative artists when it comes to dark ambient and experimental music. Releasing “Hyperborea” on their label is a collaborative effort that I hope will continue for many more albums to come. Hiemis is a very talented artist that has managed to keep the ideas fresh and the overall theme of “Hyperborea” in a league of its own. Show your support by downloading the album from the link below.
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