Yen Pox ‎– Between The Horizon And The Abyss


[Reviewed by stark]

The cover of the album, although very impressive, is probably not nearly as monumental as the music embossed in the silver disk. Look at it. Sure you are impressed, because it fully reflects the dark ambient spirit. And then listen to the first minutes of “The Awakening”. Make sure it’s playing loud! And then you realize that if there could be any visuals that would at least partly match the music in terms of verve, they would have to be projected on a large cinema screen, in HD resolution. And even so, this would only prove to be a surrogate, reflecting the sound layers just to a certain extent. You’d have to be there, in that world, so the visual perception harmonizes with the aural one. So evocative is “Between The Horizon And The Abyss”. It’s therefore fortunate, that this text is only about the music.

How much has it been? 13 years after the memorable collaboration with Troum – reissued not so long ago by the way. In the meantime they released the 10″ “Blood Music” through Drone Records, a re-release embellished with some other old recordings, and some Blood Box albums, another Michael Hensley project. “Funeral In An Empty Room” gained a very nice review in our magazine. However, the musician hasn’t forgotten about his core project, waited with Yen Pox long enough to gain cult status in the original sense of the word, and here it is. “Between The Horizon And The Abyss”.

I dare say that when it comes to force of sound, only Lustmord could equate to Yen pox these days. Michael Hensley and Steven Hall primarily use digital means of expression, yet they do it in the most efficient way. Sometimes there is some part, the provenance of which I’m not quite sure of, like the beginning of “White Of The Eye”: a real guitar or electronics deftly imitating it? It adds a particular moment of doom metal filth, one that anyway quickly disappears in the dark ambient space. Full raging air vortices, sequences structurally dense as solid stone, that moments like flickering sparks are trying to puncture; almost lyrical, ethereal though often hid behind a veil of smoke, where it’s impossible to breathe. Even so, sometimes you get away, and just when this intimate delicacy is playing with an overwhelming tempest of drones it all gets most beautiful. Like the late part of the aforementioned, impressive “White Of The Eye”. “In Silent Fields” is also extraordinary, with bass drones soaked with quasichoral fragments and a sort of horns’ echo, so it all is indeed like a silent field where a battle between the ultimate forces has just taken place. A battle in which both sides lost, and the only thing left are the souls of the dead floating aimlessly, stretching to the horizon.

The drones in the elegiac “Tomorrow in Ruins” are beautifully intertwined, where from the magmatic cascades of sound a melody emerges reminiscent of something vague. Or perhaps something beyond human comprehension. Because this album makes me realize how small I am. How narrow my possibilities are. How limited my imagination is , if you confront it with what lies between the horizon and the abyss. A big album. Literally.

Yen Pox ‎– Between The Horizon And The Abyss
Malignant Records, TumorCD85
CD 2015


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