[Reviewed by Iaha Crax]
This is the final audio document of Archon Satani, performed by M. Stravöstrand and released in 1997 by Cold Spring. The project began as a collaboration in 1990 between the latter and Tomas Pettersson, that in 1993 went on to form Ordo Equilibrio. Its aesthetics range around themes and sensations derived from a religious practitioner’s understanding of the universe. If we consider the etymological sense of religion, namely to connect different existential planes, Archon Satani’s intention seems to revolve around recreating through music, the feelings or spiritual states manifested during individual studies and meditative processes.
In the esoteric realm contradictory terms switch places regularly, regardless of context, with the scope to convey a sense of sacred ground. Within such a context destruction turns into creation and total blackness begins to shine. “A Shiny Day Of Destruction” traces the process of spiritual transformation by the use of simple ceremonial music, tainted with slightly perceptible drones and nuanced by marching drums. Towards the finale ambient white-noises are more and more dominated by cloudy, menacing atmospheres.
Unlike Lustmord or Inade, M. Stravöstrand’s compositions bear the mark of a desolate spirit anchored in a pessimistic overview of creation. His universe is populated with vile spirits and deserted ruins – terraced vistas more in the vein of Atrium Carceri. However he seems to ponder more on the description of this abandoned universe with a cynical approach, like in “Another Great Moment In Paradise”. It is a picture of complete abandon and hopelessness all the more impressive as the title refers to the archetypal place of innocence and untainted bliss: percussions sounding as if echoed from the emptiness around a pitiful landscape of the paradise after the biblical fall.
This sense of frustrating dissuasion continues to irritate and consume the listener all along the record. “I Speak As I Lie” is composed using the same recipe as in the former tracks: an electronic-based minimal atmosphere scarcely perturbed by funeral percussions and drowned towards the finale into an ebb and flow dense drone. And yet such an economical approach has nothing shallow in it, but manages to accentuate even more the feeling of another type of emptiness as the title suggests it: human incommunicability.
The record ends almost reiteratively in “Ende”. The track begins softly with a simple line of growing, nebulous beeping sound reminding of Les Joyaux De La Princesse that becomes calmly surrounded by lymphatic drums. A careful listener can reach a mental state lacking of any human empathy, driven towards feelings of complete despondency or irreversible nullification, as perhaps experienced with extreme-doom bands like Bunkur.
Bearing the above title in mind and being aware of the satanic philosophies backing his first projects I believed that this final record of Stravöstrand would follow a consequential musical approach. However every track was named with an acidic sense of irony, and thought out as to masterfully reverse expectations and transform the illusion into the cold reality our minds perceive every day: the right way of understanding.