In the world of Dark Ambient music, listeners are taken on a whirlwind of imaginative journeys through the mind, where most of the action takes place in post-apocalyptic worlds, where humans are living off of the land and fighting for survival. The long droning soundscapes match the harrowing travels across desolate lands, looking for other survivors in order to make peaceful communities that will flourish in numbers. Although not always meant to have a positive outcome, Dark Ambient music gives the listener a means to cope with these situations in a seemingly virtual environment. However, for Harrogat’s latest release, ‘Sigillum’, I find myself drifting to a futuristic world, once ran by rabid machines, but suddenly abandoned, yet feared for an imminent return for a final invasion. Humans now seek shelter anywhere they can find before this total devastation occurs. The world is a cold, dark and quiet place. A small group of survivors stumble upon a cathedral with a mesmerizing seal (Sigillum) on the door and enter with the hopes to find solace. However, once they enter, they sense a demise of another kind.
‘Sigillum’ is quite short for a Dark Ambient album, clocking in at just thirty three minutes over six parts. However, these parts flow as a single track and provide a complete soundtrack for any chilling story the imagination can come up with. “I” begins with haunting keyboards that flow between deep sounds and lush drones, as if the worlds horizon is constantly colliding between daybreak and darkness. However, it’s apparent that darkness wins this encounter, as by the end of the track, the lush tones give way to destructive soundscapes. “II” is a short track, filled with beautiful keyboard tones that find the protagonist, peacefully walking the halls of the seemingly abandoned cathedral, in search of life, or at least a place to call home temporarily. However, as “II” fades into “III”, it is apparent that something is wrong and the group of survivors are not alone. There is another entity inside the cathedral, stalking them, without making the slightest sound. The music drones quietly and deeply at first and then adds layers of deep sounds, giving it an evil tone. As the sound thickens and grows deeper, the group of survivors come to a door with the same seal as on the outer door of the cathedral. As they inspect the seal, they realize, it’s an ancient artifact of calamity that represents malicious intent. “IV” has an eerie vibe and the drones dissolve in bizarre fashion as high-pitched soundscapes counteract the deep bass tones. As the group continues to inspect the seal, the door suddenly opens. It’s pitch black on the other side. Do they dare enter? As the distant drones of “V” make their way to the forefront, the group of survivors enter the dark room slowly and quietly. This ghostly track provides a path of sheer terror, as it contains a supernatural vibe and a horrific structure for the consistent flow of ethereal keyboard patterns. The door shuts behind the group of survivors and the room becomes pitch black. They crowd close together in agonizing terror as their final doom awaits them. The final track on the album, “VI” bestows a bleak, radiant sound that resonates from side to side, as the group of survivors suddenly sees a quick flash of light and then they all fall to the floor. The rabid machine had stalked and preyed upon them, and annihilated them all with a single shot. The time for the machines to reclaim their land is now.
Harrogat has provided a wonderful platform for the listener to let loose with their imagination. “Sigillum’ not only excels as a masterful Dark Ambient album, it does so while relying more on minimalism than including a lot of external soundscapes and field recordings. Albums like this make listening to Dark Ambient music such an enjoyable experience. If you want to lose your mind and soul in another world and be rewarded with an excellent musical journey, then download Sigillum from the link below and support this inspiring artist!
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