Taking into consideration that the year 2020 has been one of the most atrocious years in recent history, it’s safe to say that the perception of society as a whole is pretty detestable at the moment. Politics aside – a subject I will never glamorize in my reviews – times have changed and cultural understanding and guidance seem to have fallen by the wayside. That being said, it must have been like a premonition when Apocryphos released the phenomenal album, ‘Against Civilization’ back in February of this year. The overall theme for this album is exactly what we’re dealing with when it comes to humanity’s embrace on life. These eight tracks of guitar-laden dark ambience reveals the chaos when handling the rage of the untamed.
Right from the opening track, “Heartsick”, there is a dispiriting sensation that prevails when the soothing and melancholic guitar effects begin to play out. There is a somber quality with the tone that instantly suppresses the mood to allow for the prolonged and hypnotic drones to take center stage. “Altschmerz” initiates with an empty space of dread while mesmerizing, layered guitar effects slowly imbue the mix. Acoustic tones play indiscriminately while boosting the various soundscapes that hauntingly play out in the background. “A Feral Nature” begins mournfully, playing depressive and minimalistic drones. Even in the bleak nature of this track, Apocryphos still seems to find a way to mix in beautiful melodies that are not only memorable, but highly addictive to listen to as well. “Dysphagia” commences with a haunting static effect with various soundscapes added in to deliver unbiased nightmares to the listeners. Low-end guitar tones playing in the background to increase the creepiness factor and keeps the overall sound at an abysmal level. “Cupio Dissolvi” continues the use of beautiful, yet dismal guitar drones and the slow buildup to the louder sound level is soothing and leaves the listener in dire anticipation for what’s next. The melodic drones build over time and change in tone often to make this a consoling piece of work. “A Feral Night” begins with a deep, tonal modulation that remains constant and hypnotic. The guitar-heavy drones are reminiscent of an industrialized wasteland as the austere tones are layered perfectly and are used sparingly to provide a sense of apprehension. “Sunken Eyed Theopanies” starts with an astonishing sound that resembles the constant gong of a Grandfather clock. Without hesitation, higher pitched intonations ring in on multiple occasions to ensure this bleak track remains as enthralling as possible. The final track on the album is “ A Feral Kind”. It calmly begins with a mollifying drone that increases in volume over a short period of time. Additionally, it seems to add in a deeper layered drone to thicken the sound. Throughout this track, drone tones are manipulated in higher and lower pitches without conflicting, in order to contribute to this wondrous and minimalistic offering.
‘Against Civilization’ is not like most other Dark Ambient offerings, as the artist relies heavily on guitar effects and tracking to provide layers of massive drones and quality melodies. Not only does that make this a unique contribution to the genre, it’s also one of my favorite Dark Ambient albums of the year so far. Additionally, the songwriting impeccable, and the quality of the material is beyond exceptional. Apocryphos is a staple artist on the Cryo Chamber label and with releases like this, it shows why. If you’ve not heard this amazing recording, now is the perfect time to do so. Please click on the link below and support this stunning album.
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