[Reviewed by stark]
In these times when even dark ambient, one of the most “conservative” music genres, is trying to find new paths of progression; whether in terms of sound; the means of expression; the fancy concepts or the compositions itself; it is so cool to hear something so refreshingly unoriginal and so strongly rooted in the late 90s or first decade of the XXI century. This is the kind of dark drone ambient which could be released somewhere between the 1st and 15th Cycle and if you ask me, it wouldn’t be any worse that any of these great releases.
This is the second Ajna release for Cyclic Law, and to be one hundred percent fair, the first one (“Lucid Intrusion” from 2018) was kept in the similar style, yet somehow I didn’t like it that much. I remember I heard also some of his first online releases, but – kill me – I don’t remember them at all. “Oracular” is “Lucid Intrusion”`s follow-up though, and while on the 2018 album we were travelling through the world of spirits, this time Chris offers the sound reflection of Outer Body Experience. So yes, also the concept ain’t anything unique, but is “dark ambient” to the core. This music is not about exploring the new territories, this is not what Chris desires to achieve. He prefers wandering on the beaten tracks, but he does it so efficiently here. All the compositions are a dark pleasure to listen to – rich and massive, yet truly atmospheric (like my favourite, “The Unknown”). The sound is thick as a stone, which makes me think of Lull, maybe a tiny bit of Lustmord or Terra Sancta as well, although – on the contrary to these artists – I believe Ajna’s approach seems more monumental. While these mentioned projects often focus on one element and build the composition around it, Ajna sees a bigger picture and offers an almost cinematic feeling. When I listen to “Oracular” sometimes I feel pretty overwhelmed by these deep, often harsh textures, even to the point that it is difficult to catch breath. And don’t get me wrong, I see it as a positive feature. Yet there are moments of peculiar serenity (“Pneuma”) and then I feel I deal with something truly epic. Or take “Two Red Moons” – it’s like staring into a giant maelstrom at the edge of the world, with the strange anomalies on the black/grey sky.
Is it something you haven’t heard before? I wouldn’t say so. But will you be satisfied with “Oracular” if you’re dark ambient fan? Absolutely. It’s huge, it takes you to the world beyond really effectively and this is what’s this music is about, isn’t it?