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Halo Manash - Haudattujen Valvoja [Aural Hypnox - 2015]

Haudattujen Valvoja is the tenth full length release from this Finish dark ritual & ambient collective.  It finds the bands sound at itís most sparse & experimental- focus in on pared back blends of un-harmonic ritual horn bays, thin chugging mats of doom focused experimental guitar textures, very subdued drone drifts, and highly skeletal  ritual elements.

This release appeared back in July 2015 on Aural Hypnox- the label/ collective the project is part of. And it features typical distinctively arty & occult themed packaging, which takes in a dark green fold out card shelve- inside this we have a eight page booklet that features a  textured art paper grey cover & white inner pages featuring occult symbol on each page. Thereís also a selection of double sided art cards- featuring on one side dark & murky landscape photos, and on the other side white ritual symbols against a  black ground.


Iíve been a long time fan of both this project & label, and Iíll have to admit this album took me by surprise in itís very stripped, stark & highly subdued feel. You see past release from this project have always had some harmonic/ formal ambient feel to them, but for this release all that has been stripped totally back. And what youíre left with is extremely subdued jams, which  really feel more like skeletal improvising that are  highly repetitive & sour in their form & shape. Sure this stuff is dark & eerier in tone, but Iím not sure if you could still classify it as ritual ambience any more.

The release offers up seven tracks in all, and these each have running times of between seven & thirteen minutes. The first three tracks work us their own suite - with very stripped back sonic themes building to a highly subdued crescendo around the repetitive yet stripped doom guitar textures & angular horn elements. The remaining four tracks each tattle their own sonic themes; but once again these are highly sparse, angular & barren in their unfold.


I have returned to this album again & again since it was released - to try & see if it will fully click & resonate with me like the projects other work had, but it still seems so dowdily  impenetrable in itís wanton feel of emptiness & wholly sparse-ness. I can certainly appreciate the projects attempt to create something apart & unequal from their past work, and that in itís self should be praised. But as a  whole release Iím afraid it to say it left me unimpressed & at times even down right bored.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Roger Batty
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