Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Looking Into Darkness...

Animi Vultus - innerside... (2012)

In preparation for the upcoming album from Animi Vultus, we're heading back to 2012 to check in on their latest album, innerside....  According to their notes on BandCamp, the band's songs are 100% improvised, which makes the effective tone of their music just that much more impressive.  With one member (Saliatahn) handling all of the instruments and arrangement, and the other (Malphas) handling vocals and phrasing, they have an intriguing and distinct approach to generating their music.
At the same time, that unpredictability makes it very hard to pin them down.  They have a resonant epic doom sound to a lot of the material, with a chill to the production and a commitment to atmosphere (with touches like indistinct guttural noises, dry-sounding drums, and organ interludes) drawn from the more theatrical segment of black metal, but they pull in so many other influences that it seems inadequate to just call them black(ened) doom metal.  There's soundscapes, drone, heavily-filtered folk, funeral doom, and more, all of it effectively channeled in their unscripted studio sessions.
Most of the songs top the 6-minute mark (the two that don't are the intro and the very short “Meaningless Thing”), with the first post-intro track, “...As The World Burns” taking the crown at ~10 minutes.  The duo makes excellent use of their time, developing some goosebump-inducing atmospheres that sound ideal for listening to in winter with the lights extinguished, and then breaking them into pieces with a violent interruption (or, in the case of “Extension”, a dense polyrhythmic build-up into either didgeridoo or a well-programmed drone synth).  The last track, “Self Awareness” drifts along on gentle keyboards, circling a downward riff and stretching out into ethereality, then silence.
There's just not enough room to talk about all the impressive details to the extent that they deserve, so, as a condensed version, take it this way: If you want to hear musical darkness done in a variety of styles, get yourself a copy of innerside..., and stay tuned for their follow-up!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Gnaw Their Tongues, White Darkness, Trees, Blackwolfgoat, Sunwølf


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