Over the years, the Cryo Chamber label has become my go-to label for top-quality, cinematic Dark Ambient music. Not only that, the label has introduced me to – what would become – some of my favorite artists of the genre. One of those artists is Ager Sonus. One thing that sets Ager Sonus apart is the inclusion of ancient mythological themes for each album and contrasting musical sounds that present a deep dive into the theme at hand. On latest album, ‘Niflheim’, Ager Sonus incorporates hoary deities and recollections similar to that of Norse mythology and civilizations. This alone creates a dynamic atmosphere that is supremely backed up theatrical ambient pieces, telling an age-old tale through superior musical expression.
Starting the album off in a tribalistic fashion is “Going North”. After a brief descent into dark modulations, a rhythmic beat begins and a variety of instrumentations treat us to a theatrical composition that depicts the beginnings of uncharted civilizations. Concluding with a jarring ambient section, this track sets a high mark for what will follow. “Murky Waters” introduces an array of field recordings and soundscapes that thwart this mystical journey into undiscovered realms. Synth leads create a chamber of wonder as it produces a visually bleak setting. Haunting vocal patterns and percussive moments broaden the scope of this intense recording. “Bonfire Stories” takes us back to ancient times of Viking warriors and the fight for land and heritage. This song creates such a magnificent image of natural landscapes and dark times of an age-old civilization with its pulsating beat and emotionally charged instrumentation. “Tundra” commences with a dark ambient vibe and slowly incorporates a mid-tempo, pulsating beat with Middle-Eastern influenced arrangements. I can imagine this song playing while venturing through a narrow alley with a multitude of people selling goods and pacing relentlessly as if there is no where in particular to visit. There is a sense of tense atmospherics as some sort of evil may be lurking around every corner. “Decay” has a beautiful new age vibe as a slower drum beat sets a steady cadence for alluring melodies and soundscapes. As crows let out harsh, modulated caws in the background, a sense of tranquility plays on through elegant tones. “Ghosts Of Battles Past” is one of the more darker tracks on the album, as bleak drones and sinister vocal patterns are featured. The flute-like leads produce a harrowing moment as serene charm and cold decay begin to fuse for a mesmerizing output. “Dreamland” continues the pace and aura of previous tracks with industrialized samples and a huge reverberated sound that produces a huge space for maximum audial control and imagination. Toward the middle of the track, an assembly of resonance – previously heard – slowly make their way into the mix and the outcome is simply amazing and addictive to listen to. This is without a doubt, one of my favorite tracks on the album. The final track, “Journey’s End”, supremely summarizes this spectacular album with evocative drones, natural field recordings and pounding beats that are more bombastic and destructive than they are rhythmic. However, it showcases the abrupt ending that was expected on this ancient expedition. The drones intensify and build in layers as this is probably the most traditional sounding Dark Ambient track on the album. Nevertheless, it’s such a soothing way to end an excursion that is full of triumphs, struggles and alluring engagement.
Ager Sonus never ceases to amaze me with his brand of cinematic Dark Ambient music. Whereas many of his albums are rooted and themed in existing ancient cultures, this album – in my opinion – is more inline with the beginning of times and how certain ancient cultures began. This is yet another amazing album from one of my favorite Cryo Chamber label artists and I highly recommend checking out ‘Niflheim’ if your itching for a wondrous audial adventure into ancient civilizations.
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