Sometimes, music that terrifies the soul comes in unforeseen forms. Specifically in the Dark Ambient genre, haunting drones and malevolent soundscapes tend to be the vanguard for uncompromising nightmares and emotions. However, it’s the minimalistic approach to ambient music that contribute to the sensation of true isolationism, and that – to me – is a whole new level of horror. The latest release by Ajna, ‘Oracular’, confines the listener into a deep space of abandonment and desolation, so that the mind is held captive by the ten cavernous tracks contained within. The perception of this sixty six minute journey is like having an out-of-body experience and if you sit back, close your eyes and take in the powerful audible message, that’s exactly what will happen.
“Metaterrestrial” opens with deep, brooding notes that are the dawn of a chilling sequence of sounds leading up to a guttural drone with horrifying soundscapes. It’s as if a nightmare from a horror film is playing out before our ears, creating a dark, unforgiving world that is ready to apprehend the listener without bias. Waves of cosmic synths modulate in slow motion, causing relentless tension. “The Unknown” commences with a soft but profound drone, followed by a frantic static sound that abruptly gets the blood flowing. Afterwards, layers of subdued synth tones build a wall of astral sound as it creates an environment for easy mental drifting. The static noises, as well as a few other industrial-like soundscapes randomly make an appearance as an obscure gesture to torment the mental awareness of the listener. The next track of unsettling detail is, “Parallel Hypnosis”. With the soft drones taking a background to the ever changing soundscapes, distraught noises kick things off before halting and giving way to ghostly drones. Irregularly timed industrial sounds give this track a mechanized feel and that benefits the overall theme of the album. “Astral Hybridization” starts with a steady, low end sound with drifting synths blended in, giving it a bit of a melodic appeal. The abrupt soundscapes continue to be a driving force and they can be a bit daunting when least expected. “Rising Above Physical Time (alternate version)” introduces a grim and constant tone that sounds like the aftermath of a forceful bang of a Tibetan singing bowl. Grotesque soundscapes coagulate for a while before fading off in the distance, making this a rather eerie track. “Pneuma” rolls in like a deep winter snow storm, ascending to loud, harsh volumes before descending into uncertainty. Once settled into the depths of cold and despair, irregular modulations crackle through the speakers and icy drones continue to fill the colorless void. As the synth frequency increases, so does the volume, creating a whirlwind of relentless desolation. “Paralysis” wastes no time with the bludgeoning drones, as they pierce the airwaves fiercely right from the opening moment of the track. Without hesitation, moments of harrowing shrills bellow out with full force! After a few minutes, a particular calmness comes over this track but a constant drone maintains a steady vibration while various soundscapes compound with renewed resonance. “Two Red Moons” appears less hectic than most of the other tracks, but still complies with the random drops of industrial-laden soundscapes. “Nightmare Sector” is probably the most sinister sounding track on the album. Although the drones are mid-level in tone, various other sound effects make this one extraordinarily creepy. The last track on the album, “Infinitam Abyssum II” is a true masterclass in claustrophobic ambience. The dreadful phantasm of sound exuded in this final offering is bleak and cold and epitomizes minimalistic Dark Ambient in an unparalleled way.
Ajna has set a precedence when it comes to confined Dark Ambient. With a minimalistic approach to deep, meditative drones complimented by apocalyptic soundscapes, ‘Oracular’ is a highly entertaining album with a consistent and ear-pleasing style throughout. If you enjoy Dark Ambient with a restrained sound amidst innovative soundscapes, then checkout the latest album by Ajna, ‘Oracular’, our now on the Cyclic Law label and available for download at the link below.
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