Aeogoa - Obsidian Outlander [Aural Hypnox - 2017]Obsidian Outlander brings together haunting & unsettling ambience, with raw ritual percussive textures & subtle noise elements. It’s the fourth full length from this project that’s part of the mysterious Finish label/ collective Aural Hypnox/ Helixes.
The album comes on either CD, or two different vinyl versions- one with silver silk screen printed covers( 130 copies), and another with gold silkscreening(350 copies). I’m reviewing the CD version of the album, which comes in the label house style unfolding card sleeve- this takes in screen-printing inside & out, plus three plush postcards, featuring glossy pics on one side & symbols text on the other side.
It’s fair to say as Aural Hypnox/ Helixes releases go this is one of the shorter & less involving releases to appear from the label/ collective. The whole release comes in at just twenty-nine minutes, with each of the six tracks having fairly short run times of between two & seven minutes. So as you’d imagine many of the tracks here feel more like shorter sonic statements, or even film cues- instead of the often more lengthy ritual ‘n’ droning work-outs of a fairly big portion of the collectives output. And I guess this has its pros/ cons- so if you’re looking for a release to drift off in/ get lost in, this maybe won’t be perfect. But if you after a series of sonic snapshots, that blend together darker ambience with ritual & subtle noise elements- this will be for you.
The release opens with the just under four & a half minutes of "Initiatory Boil", and this is really a good example of what to expect on the rest of the album. The track slow fades in with a blend of churning ‘n’ rapidly scuttling metal textures- these are underfed by a deep ‘n’ earthy worming drone. As the track progresses these murky, bleak, yet harmonic ambient guitar textures flit & hover under the constantly churning & unsettling metal field recordings. The whole thing brought to mind images of some vast ‘n’ hellish lovecraft like machine making it’s way along- churning & slicing everything in its wake.
The albums remain five tracks blend together selections of nonmusical elements- be it moaning ritual voices, simmering ‘n’ stretched noise textures, slowed metal bows or drags, or slurred metallic texturing. With more musical elements like moody guitar drones, sinister & dirge bound organ elements, and doomy bass simmers.
I’ll have to admit that my first few plays of this album left me somewhat under-whelmed & a little disappointed. As it seemed to be just a fairly typical & standard example of dark ambient meets more sinister-yet-subtle noise elements, really lacking that Aural Hypnox/ Helixes distinctiveness. But as time has gone on I’ve found myself persisting with the release, and now find the whole thing rather effective in creating a feeling of dread filled ritual intent. Sure I can’t say it ranks as one of the top level releases from the collectives back catalog, but if you’ve enjoyed/ followed their past releases I can certainly see this appealing to you.Roger Batty