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Phelios - Gates of Atlantis [Malignant - 2013]

Phelios is back with with his much anticipated follow up to 2010's Astral Unity. Martin Stürtzer picked up where he left off and didn't miss a step. Gates of Atlantis comes to us on the continuously awesome Malignant label, and it's a well thought-out dark ambient with industrial flourishes. The almost primordial drumming and the interstellar drone give the listener strong soundtrack vibes. This is good, too, because it plays as a loose soundtrack to H.P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow Out of Time."

One doesn't have to look hard to find Lovecraft's influence in our culture today. His legacy continues in every artistic medium from video games to barware (I'm a proud owner of a Cthulhu tiki mug). Considering that many of the Great Old Ones in his mythos are "unspeakable," it makes perfect sense for Lovecraft to show up in an instrumental dark ambient album. Part space, part primordial Earth, all feeling, Gates of Atlantis masterfully captures the essence of time, space, and the unknown. Phelios' aural take on "The Shadow Out of Time" uses broad, distant synth drones, tribal drumming, and reverb to convey the vastness of space and time traveled by the Great Race of Yith. From the jump, this album is very grand in scope. "Gates of Atlantis" has an almost cinematic vibe to it. The soft "strings" and deep, sparse drums pair up with an almost vocal echo to paint a vast sonic picture. When the tribal drums come in, the song starts to propel forward as if on the back of some flying creature (presumably possessed by one of the Yithians). While a great prelude to a large and lush album, the almost upbeat tone is kind of misleading. The album as a whole is very deep and brooding, and the propulsive drums add a sense of urgency to the formless drones of space. In "Spiritual Possession," arguably the most challenging piece, we're subjected to a variety of feelings, from extreme lonely distance to heart racing, head nodding tension. Whether utilizing delay and reverb or harnessing subconscious primal thoughts with drums, Phelios knows how to convey his message.


The vastness of time and space is often seen as empty from a human perspective. The Great Race of Yith knew how to cross both making for a more colorful experience. Thankfully, Phelios was able to use the Yithians' own body switching powers against them and tell us what they saw. This cd is a perfect sound track for a dark, foggy, morning ride to work. It also made me very eager to break out my dice and Call of Cthulhu books. Check this one out!

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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