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Valdivian Tower - Die Valdivianische Schatten [Mahamvantara Arts Records - 2022]

Die Valdivianische Schatten is a recent release from one of the projects connected to Valdivian Black Circle- the Chilean raw black metal/ dungeon synth collective. It’s a five-track digital download/ Ltd cassette album that serves up a ghoulishly wavering ‘n’ creepily unwell blend of dark ambience, and creepy textured noise/ vocalising, with the latter tracks adding in darkly clunking piano tones.

As far as I can surmise Die Valdivianische Schatten is release number three from Valdivian Tower- with all of its work thus far appearing on Mahamvantara Arts Records- which releases purely works from the wider Valdivian Black Circle. As I mentioned in my introduction there is a tape version of this- but I have no idea on numbers, I’ve reviewed the digital version of the album. For more information head to the labels bandcamp here

The four tracks featured here have runtimes between four and eight-minutes mark- and for the most part, they manage to sidestep many of the cliched dark ambient tropes, for a nightmarish at points downright bone-chilling experience.  The sound throughout is very lo-fi, analogue, and aged- though the mix of elements is well-realized for maximin atmospheric effect.

We open with “Haunted Labyrinths Behind the Mirrors” here we find a lightly spiralling and spectrally hovering church-like organ. This is surrounded by a dense sonic wood of creaks, scuttles, rubs and drags. From time to time you can make out a low growling -to-gutturally muffled voice, which sounds both beast-like and ghostly. It’s a great start to the album, really dropping you down in prime chilling unease.

Moving on we have “Prementing Between the Silence”- this opens with a busy 'n'  haphazard blend of eerier scrapes, drags and pulls. Fairly soon we get a wavering-to-stabbing keyboard element- this moves between sparse ‘n’ aged techno like stabs, and wondering piano discord. Around this, we have a drift dusty cobweb-like haze of vocal wailing, growls, low moans, and hisses.  

The album is finished off with wondering 'n' wavering unease of “Seelensklage (Carved With Laments of the Past)” which brings together pitch-shifting piano clunks and darts, with ripping ‘n’ dragging textural detail, and whining & at points very troubled small child cries. A most unsettling trip into creepy and chilling deranged sonic flotsam and jetsam to play the release out with.

For the most part, Die Valdivianische Schatten is a prime example of eerier sonic unease and highly ghoulish ambient discordant. A few moments/ elements do overstay their welcome a little, but these are fairly fleeting. Of late Valdivian Black Circle have really been darkly shining in their output- be it raw BM, wonky dungeon synth, or ghoulish/ unwell ambience- and this release is another example of that…. very much looking forward to what the Circle has for us next!

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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