Jumalhämärä: Resitaali

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Jumalhämärä: Resitaali
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Jumalhämärä: Resitaali
Ambience
Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions
October 7th, 2013
Release length: 35:05
Jumalhämärä‘s debut full-length album Resignaatio dropped back in 2010, about fourteen years after the formation of this four piece Black Metal group. The release was met to varying degrees of acceptance among the Black Metal community, and was followed by the 2012 compilation Slaughter the Messenger / Initiated into Trivialities. It’s been about a year now, and Jumalhämärä return with the completely different offering that is Resitaali. Does this instrumental Ambient example of Gothic Black Metal landscapes, or is this organ-only performance too empty to make the emotional impact it clearly is going for?

While Resignaatio was an interesting piece of raw Black Metal aggression, Resitaali sets a thematic Gothic vibe that treads from carnival-styled themes suited to early French or Italian physical arts, all the way to grand yet brooding environments one might expect to represent Transylvania in a black and white Dracula film, which takes up most of the latter half of the album. “I” treads into that lonely and depressive world of dust covered streets and side show freaks. The organ effect on the keyboards is rather crisp, but still obviously digital and thin. The pace here is rather slow, giving way to simple notes, and even flat out stopping for a brief section where things turn towards an accordion effect that plays up the depressing, but that ends up a single note held for the last four minutes against the basic organ music that comes right back into play. While “I” sets a decent mood, it’s far from impressive, and, dare I say, even boring.

“II” starts off a bit rocky with the simple notes played that seem a bit off, but some additional supporting notes gradually come into play, taking the impact from the sudden differences that occur. However, the empty background of the first few minutes does lead to the microphone picking up some noise in the studio that teases you to expect footsteps or a little more substance, but actually ends up like someone moved a paper or coughed in the distance. The song does build a hint of glory by the time it ends, making the shift to a much darker and brooding environment on “III” a natural transition. The deeper performance backed by subtle, distant higher notes conveys a surprisingly rich and oppressive world, void of all light and hope other than a street light at the corner by the thief and local dirty whore. About five minutes in, things become twisted and grander, bringing in a truly gothic-era vibe that is as frightening as it is ominous.

Finally, there’s “IV,” which really ends up a whole different environment. The deeper richness of “III” does carry over, and the burdening lonesomeness of “I” is brought back into play, the overly simple held notes come off dank and foggy. Some subtle shifts at six minutes in add to that depressive emotion, as if upon a damned ship lost at sea with a heavy fog rolling in. The doom has washed over you and everyone else aboard the vessel, and at the half way point, the sudden burst of hope is simple the embracing of the light at the end of the tunnel as you fade away into the grim darkness, never to be heard from again.

Resitaali is one hell of a change in direction for Jumalhämärä, which is a bit unfortunate. Where Resignaatio was considered a superb example of minimalist Black Metal, Resitaali is a prime display of it in Ambience form. Think of instrumental Burzum but without the midi sound, and far less frostbitten. This isn’t a world of sinister darkness or mystical tomfoolery, but rather an attempt to produce a dark and seedy warm underbelly of the eighteen-hundreds and similar time periods. From morose and sinful to ominous and frightening, Jumalhämärä do a superb job at setting the environment with the most basic of bare minimals. Sadly, it’s only the last two tracks that really make much of an impact, while “I” and “II” actually end up rather bland and uninspiring thanks to how thin the performances end up being, thus making Resitaali an album you simply need to sample before you do anything else.

01. I – 8:14
02. II – 8:14
03. III – 8:02
04. IV – 10:35
Initial Pressing Score: 5/10

Jumalhamara

Digital review copy of this release provided by Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions.