Because We Needed Consecutive SOMA-related Posts…


Æthenor “Faking Gold & Murder” (2009, VHF)

Greetings.  What better way to follow-up the sendoff of Khanate than with another release from a Stephen O’Malley -affiliated project: Æthenor.  A much different beast from the normally guitar heavy and blackened drone-driven material most associate with O’Malley, Æthenor’s ensemble aspire to explore the murkiest corners of the eternal night. So at the risk of turning into a Stephen O’Malley fanblog, let us dive into “Faking Gold & Murder.”

The third album from the outfit adds Current 93 founder David Tibet on vocals, in the process opening up an entirely new dimension to the experimental dark ambient fog Æthenor continues to traverse.  The opening track tumbles forth with a free-jazz drumming explosion and electronic hum.  Once the drum assault breaks off, Tibet’s sullen apocalyptic croon seeps through.  Bells restlessly flutter amongst echoing drum hits lost in the mist.

Track two does away with the chaotic drumming for something even bleaker.  Again the bells  tremble against a backdrop of distant, heavy thuds, carried along by a melancholic drone that guides us to seclusion.  We again meet Tibet.  The plaintive doomsayer.  His words are harrowing alongside decaying organ bursts.

We are reintroduced to the percussive elements again on track three.  What starts with rattling drum and Tibet’s lamentations, eventually descends into a nightmarish whirlwind of guitar, organ, synth, and drum.  The devils crawl from the cracks of broken stone walls to dance by the flickering flames in the night.  Æthenor closes the album with ambient star-gazing guitar and organ drone.  This cosmic resonance provides a slight bit of warmth  to a creepy affair.

The addition of Tibet on “Faking Gold & Murder” is a resounding success.  His vocals add a layer of rich imagery to the unsettling tapestries woven by the rest of the group.  The end result is perhaps the best album yet from Æthenor.  Unapologetically bleak and captivating, “Faking Gold & Murder” is an essential listen.

Buy it from VHF


~ by theoberlander on February 17, 2009.

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