Tunnels Of Âh - Charnel Transmissions [Cold Spring Records - 2018]
Cold Spring has a prodigious history of documenting the most exemplary gloom and doom that outsider music has to offer. “Charnel Transmissions” is another bleak offering to carry on that tradition. For the uninitiated, Tunnels Of Âh is the solo project of one Stephen R. Burroughs, formerly with the proto industrial unit, Head of David. “Charnel Transmissions”, available in CD and digital formats, is Tunnels Of Âh's fourth full length album.
Over the course of 5 tracks “Charnel Transmissions” is an amalgamation of blackened drone, dark ambient, and horror soundscapes. Seconds into the opening track, “Homage to the Landfill Dogs” and I'm entranced. Thick, crust of the earth drones, crumble and shift at a glacial pace. It's what I imagine the shifting sounds of tectonic plates might sound like. Dense tones meld into serpentine breathing exercises...cold and menacing, and vague ghostly transmissions haunt in the recesses of the soundscape. Inspired by chime and gong stations’ recordings of the Cold War era, “Kosmiglot” is a harrowing piece of sound tapestry featuring elongated percussive resonance and more straightforward plodding beats, with weird shortwave phantoms penetrating the ebb and flow of high to low end feedback. My favorite track on the disc is “Here is the Heap”. The track vacillates between somber and harsh elements with a monologue repeating over and over. I can’t quite make out the message, but something about “tumultuous storm, come with weapons”. It sounds like some dark ritual, summoning some evil forces from beyond. Dark and haunting material through and through.
Once again Cold Spring continues to bring the dread. “Charnel Transmissions” is bleak and dense listening. One can really get lost in the sounds Burroughs presents. I could totally imagine Tunnels Of Âh sharing a bill with Trepaneringsritualen and She Spread Sorrow. That would be one hell of a show.Hal Harmon