[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
Kein, a Yekaterinburg based musician, belongs to a certain category of artists seeking to revive music in its ancient form, inspired by the ethnic expressivity of their homelands. Once the guitarist in the atmospheric black metal band Thy Repentance, Kein is now developing other projects such as Carved Images of Emptiness or Church of Howling Dog, and he is also a member of Prognostic Zero and Zinc Room. Sol Mortuus takes guiding indications from the Ural ethos, the region bordering on the Siberian emptiness.
Kein suggestively enacts the windless land on a background of somber keyboards, a mirroring plateau upon which we can hear the beautiful reflections of local instruments, like kaluka, rainstick or vargan. The opening act, ‘Mother Of Windless Land’, is played with simplicity and passion, reverting the melancholy of the block flute sound into an imaginary telling of a curious misanthropic familiarity.
Listeners familiar with neoclassic bands combining technology with ancient instrumentation will find on ‘Extinction’ a soothing atmosphere to rest their nostalgia for times forlorn. Despite the rather grey-toned depressive titles, like ‘Stars That Have Grown Should Be Covered With Blood’, Sol Mortuus rests its music on calming cello chords following a minimal pattern. The shadow falls with the use of drones, extended now and then to a horror degree by alarming reverbs, an attempt to put into music the vicissitudes of those lands, a perfect loneliness petrifying the spirit. As if music is not enough – silence being denominator of this existence – Kein completes the atmosphere with metaphorical titles further deepening the impressions: ‘The Great Wasteland Where Drop Of Water Is More Longing Than Bear Meat In Famine Days’, the third piece, a conjuring of the vastness no one could embrace.
Ritual shamanic rhythms are remembered on ‘Three Skies Impossible To See’, pleasantly nuanced by humming vocals and flutes, and other pagan beliefs are suggested in the song ‘Arkaim’, which is a site in Southern Urals, connoted with an archaic solar temple. The dark ritual sound is allegedly a distortion of a dream-space meant to transfigure this sacred spot. Everything in terms of atmospheres and mastering is professionally done, creating a magical alchemy between the suggested visions and the listener. For some, it will certainly suggest a response to the more sophisticated sound of the Crowley-ian defunct project Endvra.
The narration becomes an incentive, abrasive on ‘The One Who Has Never Seen The Dawn’, a monstrous crawling of drones, and even seems to follow a radical change of register on ‘The Winged Spirit Lifts The Spear’, sounding like a forbidding extreme minimal quartet. This final gift of the record will hopefully be the raw matter for subsequent compositions.
Toward the end of the album my mind went completely blank, extinct. What seemed at the beginning inoffensive and distractively heterogeneous, exhaled in the whole a visceral telluric affection. The Russian label Zhelezobeton has once again made a remarkable choice in releasing this album.
Sol Mortuus – Extinction
Evil Dead Productions, EDP 016
[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]