Friday, 26 April 2019

Arkhtinn "IV" (2017)

It felt like a blessing to have finally stumbled upon another band emulating the shivering abyss of existential dread Darkspace once conjured. It immediately caught my ear once I heard the distinct lack of high range frequency and a claustrophobic aesthetic. The same tropes are deployed, bass and distortion guitars meld with relentless blast beats to form a nauseating force of ambiguous dark pummeling. Its discernible nature is its mystique, setting the tone for synths to rise from the deathly depths and plunge the listener through a sense of cascading epic that I simply adore.

This mysterious French bands albums are all free to devour on bandcamp. I decided to start here at the forth installment because the first free have raw and ropy production, too much for my tastes. This record, like all the others, comprises of two similar length songs. The first twenty minutes are the evil ecstasy and the second half a Dark Ambient piece of droning sounds relishing in their ambiguous form. Tension is mounted and sustained as an atmosphere of unease gets conjured by these soft and eerie drones that creek and groan over the soft underlying organ alike synth tone. Its brooding, frightful and slightly dystopian.

The Black Metal song is mainly kicked along by its underbelly of rising synth that queues all the musical shifts. Its chord changes feel like a revelation as the suspense of the unending pummeling is pivoted to new heights without changing its onslaught. The guitar work finds its roll in tremolo picking scaling melodies that rise and fall with menace. Towards the latter stages the song breaks up the flow with chunky rhythm guitar chugging, much like Darkspace do. After that point the darkness seems to ponder on the same intensity and lacks a gratifying conclusion.

The vocals are a treat too, mean beastly growls and shrill harrowing screams are elongated consistently. They have a traditional edge but the reverberations and low fidelity capturing lets them slip right into the sound design as another layer of despair. The record is a real pleasure, to finally have something new from a niche I adore. I particularly love the astral, spacial feel of the music. With a keen ear one can hear the glistening of stars flickering as glimmers of glossy synth barely peaking through the wall of utterly ferocious sound. Great record, can't wait for the next installment.

Rating: 6/10