The slow, dismal first track “Sxi-Meru” really didn’t intrigue me at all, though as it progressed it clearly established a creepy atmosphere through the high pitched notes that came through. The guitar only performance with loud distortion on a cheap recording device reminded me of the tense close-up shots to early seventies slasher films, or even just Horror from that time in general, when they try to signify something related to the killer creeping up on someone or giving chase to them while the victim hides hoping not to be found. While it did give a bit of a headache, I can respect it for the atmosphere it did create, though nothing else really stood out from it. I immediately began to hope the entire album wouldn’t sound like this, and I was relieved when “Slippy” came on.
Thankfully this song offered more than random notes, and it constantly changed things up in a way that had me checking track lengths and how much time passed in the song. “Slippy” had plenty of entertaining sections that set up a creepy atmosphere quite differently than “Sxi-Meru,” but at the same time it would suddenly jump to something completely different like a random Drone passage that was nothing more than a guitar string (or bass, it’s hard to tell with how low it is from this infernal speaker) being plucked for one note over and over.
That didn’t appear on every song, as some emptier sections had a little more atmosphere to them, and even some extra complexity. “Lament for the Builders of Khara Khoto” showed a more fluid performance, which I really liked a lot more. The Drone elements were there too, and what really came through was the sensation of two different songs coming together as one, or at least what I interpreted it to be. Whether that was the intention or not, the obvious differences did build and kept me paying attention a lot more than “Slippy” offered, which was just too erratic for the sake of being erratic.
But, even with the Avant-Garde style established, I still had a hard time getting into “Satan Knew My Secret Heart.” This was a long-winded Drone offering with a simple riff being played over and over, but the chords sometimes sounded unintentionally off-rhythm with the rest of the music. It was still mildly enjoyable, though every time I heard that slight miss in timing it made me cringe.
In all honesty, there wasn’t a whole lot to really brag about with this album just from a casual spin. The raw atmosphere worked in its favor, but the only two songs I really found myself enjoying sitting through were “Lament for the Builders of Khara Khoto,” and “This Wind is a Gift from a Distant Friend,” the latter a bass-only slow Drone performance that somehow actually made me sick shortly into it, feeling better only when the song was ended. Yes, it was very odd, but now as I sit here listening to “Sxi-Meru,” I have come to the realization that I simply don’t want to play anymore…
Digital copy of this release provided by Svart Records.