If I were to set a scene for how the music comes across on this album, it would go something like this; you awake from what you believe to be a dream. A bright, burgeoning light glows from the window, drawing you to the exterior of your home. Your senses tell you not to go but without hesitation, you open the door and head out toward a glooming path that has never been seen before. The surroundings look familiar but there is an impression of obscurity in the air. Although you believe you are experiencing anxieties of Earth’s dark offerings, it’s actually the bizarre contributions of a parallel world in which there is no return to reality. Welcome to the harrowing sacrifice by ElectronicDeathBlackDogs known as ‘The Hidden Paths’. The eight prolong tracks contained within, take the listener beyond the reaches of our universe and into another dimension where things are eerily similar but beyond the scope of reason.
Ritualistic sounds of dissonance begin this journey with the field recording-heavy, “Meditation & Technique”. With the calming sounds of a small fire, complimented by the random snaps of burning embers, distant drones begin to emerge in layers, along with industrialized effects. Heavy breathing describes a scene of what was once calm but has now been converted into unconventional discord. The drones intensify and with more distortion and reverb, increasing the chance of a violent altercation during this vulnerable time. “Ash Covered Wasteland” begins with deep drones and low bellowing wind sounds as if this is where the true nightmare is beginning after completing the meditation experience. The space ambience elements of this track are calming, yet leave so much room for many other factors to take over, and that’s exactly what happens once the layered & elongated keys come into play. The sounds are completely soothing but also provide a sense of isolation and desolation. As the listener proceeds through ‘The Hidden Paths’ they will notice things are similar but at the same time peculiarly different. Heavily layered synths and various sound effects add to this shock value, but slowly fades out, as to not cause panic. Further down the path, “Assail” continues the journey in a more peaceful constraint. Soothing keyboards flow in harmoniously and are complimented by birds chirping in the distance. As they increase in sound, a drone synchronizes with the track to provide a balance between the dark and light. Orchestration effects are dominant on this offering and are arranged very well without being over used. At around the halfway mark, it almost goes silent with the exception of the constant drone. Then suddenly, loud buzzing synths roll in unexpectedly as if there were a sense of urgency to continue the journey through the path. “Elder Light” commenced with a tonal alarm affect that slowly fades, while a dark drone sways from one side of the spectrum to the other. Light orchestrations are appeasing to the perception of the surroundings of the path at this point. There are more natural elements in this track, meaning that ‘The Hidden Paths’ is finally leading to a place of familiarity. “The Shores Of Creation” starts with the flow of wind and water elements and then a loud alarm sound rings throughout the land and continues to echo for a brief moment. Brooding drones are introduced with layers of static to give off a really evil vibe. At random, the enormous alarm sound continues to reverberate, causing havoc in this section of the path. Toward the end, the drones take on a more space ambient theme of calmness and acceptance. “Eternal Darkness” is one of the most sinister sounding tracks on the album. Malevolent soundscapes, twisted keyboard effects and a massively dark drone that lies deep within create an ominous sound with a threatening presence lurking close by. Whispers and hisses can be heard throughout as if the listener is being stalked in this portion of the path. Apocalyptic modulations add an intense effect, causing disorientation. “The Edge Of Chaos” takes the listener one step closer to the end of ‘The Hidden Paths’. Although not as dark as the previous track, the use of soundscapes prevail and maintains the intensity as before. The orchestrations (in small parts) make a return on this song and are placed perfectly throughout. Deep grumbles mixed with light keyboard tones shows that the distant end is drawing near. The final few minutes have a beautiful and nostalgic synth wave appeal, as the listener approaches the final stages of the path. “Return” begins with the crackles of hot embers and the swift introduction of space ambient sounds. The harmonic sounds of an angelic choir mixed with deep tonal effects are enlightening and deranged at the same time. As the gathering of sounds intensifies, the listener exits the path to find themself back at the beginning of the the exact same path. There is no escape from ‘The Hidden Paths’ and the paradox that it has created.
ElectronicDeathBlackDogs excels at creating musical endeavors that provide a headspace for conceiving your own adventure. For ‘The Hidden Paths’, I’m not sure of the mindset of the artist at the time this album was created, but it was crafted so meticulously, that it is easy to imagine an adventure that could have been. That’s when you know that a Dark Ambient album has surpassed the expectations of the listener. This is an absolutely amazing album that I can not recommend enough. So, if you’re looking for a Dark Ambient album to put you in a particular headspace to free your mind from reality – although briefly – look no further than ‘The Hidden Paths’. Please support this incredible artist and download the album from the link below.
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