CD-R, Reverse Alignment, 2007
“The Monstrous Soul” by Lustmord needs no introduction to fans of dark ambient but I feel the need to bring said album up as a quick reference point to those unfamiliar with the artist. The third track on the aptly titled Soleilmoon release bears a name no other than “Protoplasmic Reversion”. Naming your project after a piece composed by a man that many hail as the ‘Supreme Overlord of Dark Ambient’ puts one in a possibly uncomfortable position that invites unjust comparisons and constant reminders that one has some big shoes to fill.
Before I sink my teeth straight into the jugular of “Sunken Temples”, I would like to state that I would have enjoyed this record more had it been somewhat of a concept album. One that started with low bass drones and subtle sweeps of ominous wind gusts that progressed into an epic finale of neo-classical percussion orgy toward the very end. That’s only because I expect said epic finale to involve finding and battling Cthulhu within the bowels of the nominal sunken temple. No R’lyeh dwellers on “In Ancient Times”, but my Conan-sense tingles for the mildly Cimmerian overtones my mind conjures up while listening. Picturing a barbarian hero riding atop his trusted steed to kick some Thulsa Doom ass is not a stretch. Enveloped in winds of antiquity the song is as cold as Protoplasmic Reversion’s cover art.
All 13 minutes and 41 seconds of “Slight Discomfort” aim to unnerve the listener into checking their closets in search of the Boogie Man. The eerie calmness of the track suggests that maybe one needs to look in the mirror as opposed to under the bed in search of the monster. Perhaps I internalized the title too much but I find it quite befitting for times of self reflection. Spoken word preferably in a dead language would be a most welcome additional point of interest (though most dark ambient junkies could care less if Joachim Andersson read a recipe for apple pie in Sumerian as we tend to eat up anything dismal and incomprehensible, so making actual sense is optional). The ethereal melodies were noted and thoroughly enjoyed.
“Echoes (La Tumba De Los Muertos Vivientes)” comes bearing samples from a Nazi zombies in the desert flick, which adds some camp to this otherwise ‘dark ambient is serious business’ release. It automatically makes me score this record higher. The possible inclusion of traditional African or Middle Eastern instruments in the mix would have brought this borderline 10 minute arrangement together nicely and thus wrapped up “Sunken Temples” exquisitely.
The strength of “Sunken Temples” lies within its ability to take me on a sonic journey from frozen barbarian lands to zombie infested arid wastelands, to ziggurats abandoned by civilizations, past all without resorting to relying on instruments typically associated with such places. No dulcimers, no rattles and certainly no lyrics interwoven with any of the pre existing drones or melodies. Proves the point that the sense of dread and isolation is not exclusive to any group in particular and most importantly has accompanied man since the dawn of time.
— Bea W.