Cousin Silas – Necropolis Line

Cousin Silas - Necropolis Line

CD, Earthrid Records, 2006
www.earthrid.com/artists/cousin-silas

Call it ambient, ethereal, or, as Cousin Silas himself calls it, “sepulchral electronic” music, but regardless of meaningless genre-fication, his fifth album and first on Earthrid Records, “Necropolis Line”, is one spooky journey. Early on, “Necropolis Line” has the quality of a children’s music box gone horribly wrong and, as it progresses, it takes on the persona of a low-budget horror soundtrack or the background to an intense roleplaying game. But this description is not a negative – it is when experienced with these scenarios in mind that this album harnesses its power.
While traversing the 21 tracks, it truly feels like some sort of quest, filled with wrong turns and ghastly discoveries with an almost constant overtone of foreboding and discomfort. Indeed, many of the tracks bear the name of what could be places, and if that’s the case, any sane person would steer clear of “Shaft Seven”. This early stand-out track features what could be the shrieks of otherworldly avian creatures, ready to reach out, grab you, and whisk you off to a place between the stars. From here, the tracks continue to build upon that sense of danger. “The Bridge” must clearly be where ‘They’ hide the aliens, while “Quarry 9b” is the cavernous, echo-y place where ‘They’ conduct the tests… the painful ones.
Cousin Silas admits being inspired by the bizarre writings of H.P. Lovecraft, and it’s a thrill to hear a musician really get it right. The sense of dread, suspense and imminent danger is only lifted when clearly intentional – on tracks like “Looking Back” and “Leaving Solaris”- and the album ends on an electronic high note with the title track that truly brings closure to the journey. And that’s what it is – a journey, with soundtrack quality.
Gamers, especially those who enjoy horror and Cthulhu lore, will never find anything better for ambience. Ethereal music fans should take a risk and trade their usual meditative fare for this, the best sort of tension, relieved as the final track plays out – a release akin to the end of a great (if a little campy) horror film. “Necropolis Line” is a surprising discovery and a fascinating journey, indeed.

[10/10]

— Tiara Lynn