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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Halo Manash - Unetar [Aural Hyprox - 2019]

Unetar is a reissue of a 2016 release from Finish dark ritual ambient collective Halo Manash. This recent CD brings together the two original tracks from its first time C40 release, as well as a third track that was released on a compilation- giving this reissue a runtime of forty-eight minutes.

The CD is presented in an oversized black card gatefold- this features on it’s outside silver screen-printed inked artwork. And inside we get three matt postcards- on the front of these are color pictures  of a ritual, and on the back either white texts or crude ritual shapes against a black solid black backdrop. This release comes in an edition of 400 copies.
 
 
If your into darkly hued ritual ambient music Halo Manash should need little or no introduction- but for those who are new to this scene- the project is one of the main projects in the Finish label/ ritual collective Aural Hyprox, that’s been releasing authentic & often mysterious ritual music since the early 2000s. Like much of the labels output Halo Manash work is extreme sparse & organic in its feel- electronic elements/ instruments are used from time-to-time, but really the sound of the project is often acoustic, haunted, and very pared back- with the projects works created for various strange rituals that are carried out in the woodlands of Finland, or in ritual caves, or crude temples. This very much music that feels authentic & timeless, or out of time.
 
The first track here is the title track- and this rolls in at just shy of the twenty-minute mark. The track begins with a slowly fading in drifts & ebbs of swirling-slightly-hazed ritual horn wails and lightly struck-though-left to drift gong hits. As the track comes into full sonic focuses the soundscape feels blurred & smudged- as if your hearing the sound carried down dusty stone tunnels- around the glowing haze of horn & light gong chimes- we get more stretched & swirl tones pulled out, and these intensify the feeling of half-awake dread.  Later on we get tighter & more controlled gong hits added- yet these never become too firm or set, with the more hazed/ blurred elements been the primal focus of the tracks sound picture.
 
Track number two is "Valveesta"- and once again this slides in just shy of the twenty-minute mark. And here we find another hazed & unease blend of sparse ritual sound- we have these weird chanted/ breathing elements, which feel like they’ve been crudely reversed. Around this we find hovering slices and sudden chimes or saws of ritual drone layers. If the first track was hearing a ritual down cave passageways- this track feels like your actually in the half-light ceremonial room where the ritual is taking place. Again the whole thing has a very dark & ritually simmered vibe, that is very much blurred & spread to create the ultimate feeling of ritual unease.
 
Lastly we the third and final track "Tulitania"- this is the baby of the bunch coming in at the eight-minute and forty seven-minute mark. Here we find a sluggish & at times left- to-reverb series of ritual drum hits- these are added to by very blurred layers of ringing-to-chiming tones, which are later added to by very occasional by strange guttural alien-like chatters & muffled ritual like chants which creating a feeling of pressing unease. The track works well with the other two tracks here, nicely bringing the feeling of dark ceremony to a blurred-yet-simmering conclusion.
 
If you’re already follower of Halo Manash or the other projects on Aural Hyprox you’ll know what expect here. And while this release treads a familiar path, it certainly feels both authentic & bone-chilling- so if you need a fix of pitch-black ceremonial sounds you know what to do.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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