Last year, Neraterræ and his team of brilliant contributors, rendered one of the most accomplished Dark Ambient recordings of the year with ‘The Substance Of Perception’. Amazed at the depth and quality of that album, I immediately began to wonder how it would be topped. Fast forward to March of 2020, and the release of sophomore effort, ‘Scenes From The Sublime’, greeted us with a particular coldness that I could not wait to dive into. Although we see the synergetic return of the great Xerxes The Dark, Neraterræ hosts a new line up of willing collaborators to inflict a certain level of bleak disruption to your normal sense of mental prowess. At a hefty seventy two minutes long, these ten painting-inspired tracks of ominous drones, apocalyptic soundscapes and eerie, yet atmospheric arrangements will provide the listener with an out-of-body experience, as if succumbing to the participation of astral projection.
The aphotic journey begins with “The Last Abjurer (feat. Phelios)” | Inspired by Zdzislaw Beksinski’s AA72. The low-end synth effects fluctuate to unreachable depths as it paves the way for translucent drones and soundscapes, creating a paralyzing storm of audible penance – the genesis of the obscurity and depth perception that will follow for the remainder of the album. “Fate Unveiled (feat. Dødsmaskin)” | Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s Visions Of The Hearafter, opens with a thumping bass tonal sound, followed by ghastly howling winds and dim sound effects that will make your skin crawl. After a short breather that features some backward tracking samples, the heavy thumping bass sounds continue with accompanying distorted noises. “In Deafening Silence (feat. Phragments)” | Inspired by Ilja Yefimovich Repin’s Ivan The Terrible And His Son Ivan, starts with twisted synth tones then is systematically fused with an evil sounding drone, as if a sudden annihilation were about to commence. This is much like a calm-before-the-storm piece, as there are quick blasts of harsh tones in this otherwise placid offering. “Thou, Daemon (feat. vocals by Yann Hagimont from Cober Ord & George Zafiriadis from Martyria)” | Inspired by Francisco Goya’s The Exorcism, is definitely the most malevolent sounding track on the album, largely due to the fascinating guest vocal arrangements that span from soft narrations, screams & screeches, to resonating sinister chants and throat singing, that are clearly designed alter the mental purification process – whether for good or evil. The constant, profound drone allows the vocals to take center stage and complete the purging ritual process. “Passion Domain (feat. Mount Shrine)” | Inspired by Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog, is the most meditative piece on the album and probably my favorite track. Beginning with hissing loops and subtle analog-sounding drones, this song has a very 80’s retro vibe to it. The perpetual drone is reminiscent of a spinning propeller of an airplane, as it’s flying high above the clouds at the crepuscule of night. Clocking in at just over ten and a half minutes, this is the longest track on the album but as you get mesmerized by its audible beauty, it somehow seems like it’s one of the shortest. “The Unfathomable Lives Again (feat. Xerxes The Dark & Cober Ord)” | Inspired by Johann Heinrich Füssli’s The Nightmare, features a surfeit of industrial influenced soundscapes, along with some creepy, inaudible whispers. Throughout this track, there is a lot of manic ideas with nefarious intentions and although this is the shortest track on the album, it’s just as nightmare inducing as the rest. I would be weary to close my eyes on this track, especially at night! “Doorway To The I (feat. Alphaxone)” | Inspired by Zdzislaw Beksinski’s AE78, is a Deep Space Ambient venture with warping synth effects and high-pitched keys that contrive a disturbing atmosphere. As if a cosmonaut were on a doomed mission, hearing abnormal sounds just before his demise, this track is providing us the same intense, discordant environment. “The Collapse Of Matter And Time” | Inspired by Salvador Dali’s The Disintegration Of The Persistence Of Memory, presents a somber atmosphere with its nominal synth tones and deathly drones. The ticking of the clock solidifies an anxious emotion as the mournful frequencies emitted may be a cause for distress. “Towards Oneiric Truths (feat. Leila Abdul-Rauf)” | Inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s Isle Of The Dead, is another enthralling piece that features clean piano chops and dreamy female vocals. Just as all of the pieces are coming together and you find yourself getting lost in the music, it all fades out into a field recording of water softly crashing on a seashore. The final track on the album, “Virtues Of The Dawn (feat. Shrine)” | Inspired by Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Light And Colour (Goethe’s Theory) • The Morning After The Deluge • Moses Writing The Book Of Genesis, is another long-form, hypnotizing track that is constructed for you to close your eye and get lost in its chaotic and alluring turbulence of creativity. Starting off soft and subtle, the intensity and melodic synth gradually increase over the next eight minutes. Although there are multiple layers of music happening here, the elegant keyboard create a certain harmony that is both dystopian-like and graceful. A perfect way to end such a miraculous album.
Neraterræ is the consummate producer of Dark Ambient music. Not only does he consistently gather top-notch musicians of the genre to collaborate on his stunning albums, but his musical vision is always running on all cylinders, allowing him to create massive audio adventures filled with emotion and mental stimulation. ‘Scenes From The Sublime’ is an exceptional musical journey that – in my opinion – surpasses the debut album. Neraterræ has upped the ante with this album and the songs are bolder, more emotive, and pull you in with ease. If you were a fan of ‘The Substance Of Perception’ the you’re going to love this one even more. Please show your support for Neraterræ and download this amazing album from the link below.
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