Wolfskin / Last Industrial Estate – Stonegates of Silence

Wolfskin / Last Industrial Estate - Stonegates of Silence

CD, Malignant Records, 2010
www.myspace.com/wolfskinmusic

“Stonegates of Silence” is the most recent release from dark ambient producer Wolfskin, and, if I’m not mistaken, this is supposedly the last release he is making under that moniker. Prior to now I have not heard this project, however the termination of it is quite a shame if this is the level of quality one can expect. It appears that this album is a collaboration with a project called Last Industrial Estate (perhaps better known for his project Objekt4).
One of my friends told me that I wouldn’t like this record because it is ‘too experimental’. I am pleased to say that it is in fact not terribly ‘experimental’ in the way one would expect from something of that genre; however, it most certainly is an atypical dark, droning ambient. While these tracks are composed predominately of heavy, flowing drones and dense, crushing atmospheres, this is certainly not your run-of-the-mill one-drone-for-ten-minutes type of album. These tracks are diverse, and they have quite a bit going on within them. They bend and shift consistently throughout their duration, so they never feel tedious or boring. Similar to Allseits, they do a great job of building a macabre mood using layers of multiple drones, while typically keeping them short and sweet to allow room for other stuff to snake through the swampy darkness. Unlike that project however, they artfully employ subtle background noises such as banging or distant, sweeping noises to further generate atmosphere. It’s kind of funny to say, but this is actually very active drone music. “Stonegates of Silence” is a fitting title for these works; often they feel like walking through isolated antediluvian ruins, immersed in a thick fog under the despotic blackness of the empty night sky. This is an extremely dark record; something to check out for fans of the utmost blackness in their droning ambient. Definitely one for the New Risen Throne / Konau / Svartsinn / Allseits crowd. My only complaint about this record is that the production/mixing could have been stronger to clean up that overly murky, dank sound (some may enjoy this, however), and some of the background subtleties could have been brought out more. If you like unsettling (but not abrasive), evil ambient, don’t pass this one up.

[8/10]

— Dan Barrett