Common Eider, King Eider - A Wound of Body [Cyclic Law /Sentient Ruin Laboratories - 2018]Common Eider, King Eider are a California based project who work in a style that can be briefly described as Dark Ambient / Drone. Since 2007, the project has released twelve full-length albums and two EP’s. Initially, the collective started with a sound close to the likes of Birchwill Cat Motel, Pocahaunted and Natural Snow Buildings, with subsequent releases bringing in darker Ambient and distorted drone guitars into their sound, giving them a Drone Doom label.
A Wound Of Body is a recent co-released album from German label Cyclic Law and American label Sentient Ruin Laboratories. Cyclic Law released the album in the form of a CD and 12 "LP, and Sentient Ruin Laboratories - in the form of a 12" LP and a tape. All this, as well as the Digital version of the album, is available for ordering on labels’ websites, & via their Bandcamp pages.
The releases cover is a black-and-white macro photo of a piece of bone. I can not say with certainty that this is so, but the texture is very similar to bone. Against the background of this rather dark photo, in the middle, is the grey Common Eider, King Eider logo, made in the form of a stylized abbreviation that represents something ethnic. Just below the logo is the title of the album A Wound of Body, written in slightly distorted gothic font, also in grey. The cover seemed to me very atmospheric, mystical and primitive. Honestly, such a cover art could come up to the album of any project working in any “dark” genre - from Power Electronics and Dark Ambient to Doom and Black Metal. But this cover perfectly fits the Sonics within.
The album with a total duration of about forty-two and a half minutes consists of five tracks. With this Common Eider, King Eider have created the darkest and deepest atmosphere of all their albums. Totally rejecting the use of guitars, the sound here goes in the direction of the darkest and ritual Dark Ambient and Drone. On previous albums, you could hear a few relatively light and airy compositions, here we plunge into the abyss of primordial darkness, shamanic spells and rituals.
The basis of all compositions is, oddly enough, vocals. These are reverberated and delayed whispers, growls, humming, sighs, quiet recitatives and silent spells. Very often, the whispers become vocals, typical of Black Metal.
In the instrumental component, in the absence of guitars, Common Eider, King Eider focused on stringed instruments. I could make out a few violins and a cello present. These instruments mainly perform reverbed droning slow improvisation, not devoid of harmony. But sometimes we can hear quite distinct, simple, but rather dark and hypnotic melodies. At times I’m sure I could make out synthesizers too since some sounds are obviously of a keyboard nature. But I could be wrong because the abundance of reverberation present here can distort the original sound of instruments.
There are percussion elements here, but they do not play the role of a rhythm section. Rather, they exist here to support the gloomy atmosphere. We can hear metallic cymbal squeaks, single non-rhythmic low beats, wooden tapping rustling and much more. At times we also get very quiet static noise textures. I think this is a great idea to use some sort of HNW for the background and create a certain dark atmosphere.
This whole album is a frightening claustrophobic atmosphere of nightmares and feverish delirium. At the same time, thanks to the minimalist approach to writing compositions, the album contains a feeling of primitive shamanic hypnotism.But, despite the general frightening atmosphere, those parts of the compositions in which there is a string melody, create a feeling of sadness and grief. Perhaps this is the darkest album I've ever heard in some time. From the closest comparisons, I can only think of Aghast with their brilliant album Hexerei Im Zwielicht Der Finsternis, as well as some echoes of works of the Italian project Satanismo Calibro 9. A Wound of Body is the first part of the planned trilogy. And as , this first part turned out so well, I very much look forward to the continuation of series.Sergey Pakhomov